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Friday, November 12, 2004

Suha's payoff: $22 million a year

Yasser Arafat's widow, Suha, is expected to receive a sum of $22 million a year out of the Palestinian Authority budget, according to the Italian newspaper Corriere De La Serra.

The paper said Suha reached an agreement about the money during a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO's newly elected chairman, who visited while she was staying next to her husband's bed in the French military hospital outside Paris.

It said Abbas personally promised Suha that she would receive $22 million a year to cover her expenses in Paris. The paper noted that in July Arafat transferred to his wife $11 million to cover her living costs for the first six months of the year.

Abbas and the Palestinian leadership were forced to strike the deal with Suha after she refused to allow them to visit her husband in hospital.

The Palestinian leaders reached the conclusion that it would be better to make a deal with her in order to solve the crisis surrounding Arafat's possessions and secret bank accounts.

According to Palestinian officials, the money that Suha is expected to receive will come from secret accounts held by Arafat and his cronies in various countries. They estimated that at least $4 billion were being held in these secret accounts.