Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is the target of a new attack by Muhammad Rashid, Yasser Arafat’s former financial adviser.
Rashid has said Abbas is worth $100 million, and is demanding an investigation into the president’s sources of income. He accused Abbas and his two businessmen sons, Tarek and Yasser, of financial corruption.
Rashid was recently sentenced by a Palestinian Authority Court to 15 years in prison and a $15 million fine for embezzlement of public funds and money-laundering. He was prosecuted after granting a series of interviews to the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV station, where his accusations against Abbas first emerged.
Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction has reacted to the interviews by accusing Rashid, an Iraqi Kurd, of being a traitor and part of an international conspiracy against Abbas. The Al-Arabiya network was also warned by Fatah not to provide Rashid with any further opportunities to make allegations against Abbas.
Rashid is now a hunted man. According to one Kuwaiti newspaper this week, Abbas has commanded his General Intelligence Service track down Rashid, who it’s believed is living in Europe. The same newspaper suggested this was part of an attempt to assassinate Rashid, to prevent him from exposing other cases of corruption.
Amongst Rashid’s accusations are that Fatah was keeping a secret bank account in Jordan containing nearly $40m. Rashid says he has documents to back up his claim, noting that the U.S. had contributed $13m to the account to strengthen Fatah.