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Thursday, February 17, 2011

A tale of two kleptocrats - Mubarak and Arafat

From NYT:
Funds belonging to the family of Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president, or his senior ministers have been discovered in Switzerland, a Swiss government official said Wednesday. But the official declined to specify how much money had been identified or who controlled the account.

“The first traces have been identified,” said the Swiss official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “At the end of the week, we might have a better picture.”

The disclosure came as the new military-led Egyptian government confirmed that it had asked countries across the Western and Arab worlds to freeze the assets of senior former government officials. But the statement from the government did not say whether the list included Mr. Mubarak and his family members. Egyptian opposition members said they feared that the military would shield Mr. Mubarak, a former air force chief, and his relatives from an investigation.
SoccerDad via email points out that Yasir Arafat, who embezzled as much as $3 billion himself, was never subject to such scrutiny.

From Asharq al-Awsat in 2006:

Yasser Arafat shared his secrets and thoughts mainly with the small notebooks that he filled and kept in places unknown to members of the Palestinian leadership, even those who were close to the late Palestinian leader. Even after his death, the causes of which are still unknown, nobody dared to open these notebooks, or even open the boxes in which they were kept. There is no indication as to who is in charge of safekeeping them or the nature of the information noted by Arafat. However, all sources agree to the importance and seriousness of these notes, especially as the late leader, since the launch of the Palestinian revolution, would make note of every detail in a small notebook that he would keep in the pockets of his military uniforms that he wore for over fifty years during his leadership of the Palestinian revolution. Yasser Arafat, also known as Abu Ammar never parted with his notebooks. When they were full, he kept them in special envelopes and boxes in his office, allowing no one access to them.
Those notebooks of course are the key to where Arafat squirreled all his money. While the PA begs for Western money, they don't seem to be spending too much time trying to find the money that was embezzled by their great leader.

Now, why might that be?