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September 17, 2004
Saddam-AQ Link Through UNSCAM?

Claudia Rosett, who has dedicated the past year of her life to the UN Oil-For-Food scandal, has uncovered some interesting financial connections between Saddam Hussein and known al-Qaeda associates through Saddam's business contracts. Rosett and George Russell report for Fox News that documents uncovered by the Iraq war and the UNSCAM investigations show deliberate overpayments to companies run by AQ operatives:

Now, buried in some of the United Nations own confidential documents, clues can be seen that underscore the possibility of just such a Saddam-Al Qaeda link clues leading to a locked door in this Swiss lakeside resort. Next to that door, a festive sign spells out in gold letters under a green flag that this is the office of MIGA, the Malaysian Swiss Gulf and African Chamber. Registered here 20 years ago as a society to promote business between the Gulf States and Asia, Europe and Africa, MIGA is a company that the United Nations and the U.S. government says has served as a hub of Al Qaeda finance: A terrorist chamber of commerce. ...

[B]oth MIGA and its chief founder and longtime president, Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, landed on the U.N. watchlist of entities and individuals belonging to, or affiliated with Al Qaeda. Nasreddin is a member of the terror-linked Muslim Brotherhood.

Nasreddins longtime business partner, Egyptian-born Youssef Nada, also of the Muslim Brotherhood, likewise appears on the U.N.s Al Qaeda watchlist, as do a slew of both Nasreddins and Nadas enterprises. Former Treasury Secretary Paul ONeill in August 2002 described Nada and Nasreddin as supporters of terrorism involved in an extensive financial network providing support to Al Qaeda and other terrorist-related organizations. ...

MIGA had other founders as well. One of them, who does not appear on the U.N. terror list, is an Arab businessman now in his early 60s, Abdul Rahman Hayel Saeed. Described by an acquaintance as urbane, polite and fluent in English, Hayel Saeed was born into one of Yemens most prominent business clans, owners of a family-held global conglomerate based in the Yemeni capital of Taiz and named for its founding patriarch: the Hayel Saeed Anam Group of Companies, or HSA. ...

Abdul Rahman Hayel Saeed sits on the HSA board of directors, and ranks high in the management he is currently running HSAs regional office in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In MIGA, Hayel Saeed holds a prominent spot, as one of four co-founders who back in 1984 delegated power of attorney to the terrorist-linked Nasreddin, giving him authority to run the company.

Swiss registry documents show that Hayel Saeed has never resigned from MIGA, nor revoked that power of attorney. Queried about this link to MIGA, neither Hayel Saeed nor the HSA Groups chairman of the board, Ali Mohammed Saeed, has made any response.

All of this builds the support structure for Rosett to show how the money flowed from Saddam Hussein to HSA, and then outward with HSA's close ties to MIGA and the terrorists within that organization:

For reasons still unknown, Saddam clearly smiled upon the HSA Group. Not only does HSA account for the bulk of all Saddams business with Yemen, but dozens of deals that appear in the United Nations generic public records to originate elsewhere were in fact signed with HSA companies in countries such as Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Within that HSA empire, one company in particular stands out: A trading house called Pacific Interlink, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Abdul Rahman Hayel Saeed also sits on Pacific Interlinks board of directors. ...

Just after Saddam fell, the DCMA, together with the U.S. Defense Contract Audit Agency, looked at the terms of 759 sample contracts out of the tens of thousands of deals done by Saddams regime under oil-for-food. In that sample, Pacific Interlink pops up as a purveyor of $20 million worth of palm oil to Saddam, via a contract approved by the United Nations under oil-for-food in mid-2001. By DCMA estimates, Saddam overpaid Pacific Interlink on that contract, to the tune of about 15 percent above market price, which would work out to some $3 million in funds diverted from relief on that deal alone.

If similar arrangements went on within other Pacific Interlink oil-for-food contracts, which totaled close to a quarter of a billion dollars, then even at the more modest rate of what has been widely described as Saddams typical 10 percent over-pricing scam, that would suggest well over $20 million diverted from relief.

If so, where did it go? The question is vitally important, because much of the money grafted out of oil-for-food by Saddam remains unaccounted for.

Both HSAs and MIGAs offices overlap in locations that are hubs of normal commerce, but also served as hotspots of Al Qaeda meetings and finance, such as Dubai (where Hayel Saeed reportedly ran an HSA company, Frimex, in the late 1990s) or Kuala Lumpur (where some of the Sept. 11 hijackers gathered for a planning conference in January 2000). Pacific Interlink boasts offices or agents in places thick with terror networks, such as Algeria, Sudan, and Syria. MIGA, on its Lugano sign, lists offices in places such as Italy, Turkey, Syria, Nigeria and Kuwait, and both HSA and MIGA list offices in Morocco, Malaysia and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where Hayel Saeed is now based.

We all wondered when the UNSCAM story broke if the billions of dollars that Saddam drew out of the system eventually wound up in the pockets of Osama bin Laden. It appears that Saddam structured his deals to allow it, and deliberately chose partners with those kinds of connections.

Rosett continues her series of reports tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 17, 2004 6:18 AM

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» Dots Connected: Oil for food --> Saddam --> Al-Qaeda from The Key Monk
The mainstream media has barely touched on this, but Rosett has done Pulitzer-quality (and not Walter Duranty's Pulitzer) work on investigating and uncovering Saddam's connections to al-Qaeda, the uses of the money and the bribes accepted by UN officia... [Read More]

Tracked on September 17, 2004 9:20 AM

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