French investigators are tracking $7 million transferred by PLO treasurer Nizar Abu Ghazaleh to the Paris bank account of ex-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's widow, The Wall Street Journal has reported.
Palestinian officials said the PLO controlled a bank account in Tunisia from which millions of dollars in unexplained payments were made to Suha Arafat - payments they suspect were connected to contracts issued by the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat before he died last year, the report said.
The officials are trying to find out whether the money transferred to Suha Arafat came through Al Bahr and Al Sakhra, two companies which routinely handled purchase orders placed by the PA and which apparently were seeking, according to one official, to 'create a war chest in case the PLO fell back on hard times', it added.
As head of PLO finances, Ghazaleh played a key role in the transfers to Suha Arafat, according to Palestinian officials and French judicial officials probing PLO funds, the report said. Ghazaleh, who died last week, was also chairman of Al Bahr, and Suha Arafat played a key but unofficial role at the firm, helping to broker purchases, according to the daily.
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