Corruption

04.01.13

How Did Embezzled Palestinian Money Arrive in Canada?

Palestinians protest as U.S. President Barack Obama and Palestinians Authority President Mahmud Abbas meet March 21, 2013 in Ramallah, the West Bank. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty images) ()

$34 million in embezzled Palestinian Authority funds show up in Canada - and nobody seems able to do anything about it, reports the Globe & Mail.

Muhammad Rashid was once a senior aide for the Palestinian Authority’s founding President, Yasser Arafat, and head of the Authority’s public investment company, which owned stakes in companies operating businesses from cement to cellphones. …

Mr. Rashid was Mr. Arafat’s key financial adviser and chairman of Palestinian Commercial Services Company, which made more than $700-million in investments, operating a West Bank cement monopoly and buying into businesses that ranged from Egypt’s Orascom Telecom to a New York bowling alley.

Last year, he was convicted of embezzling, money laundering and taking commissions “by which he was able to unjustifiably enrich himself,” Mr. Al Khatib said. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail and a $15-million fine.

Mr. Rashid, who has been in a bitter feud with current Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a television interview last year that the accusations are false, and in turn accused Mr. Abbas of building a family fortune with Palestinians’ money.

But the chase for Mr. Rashid is now raising questions in Canada. How could a man working in the West Bank as a senior adviser to one of the most high-profile figures in the world, Yasser Arafat, manage to obtain Canadian citizenship?