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October 13, 2005

Iranian Regime Emerges as Central Player In Probe of Money Laundering by UBS

Topics: Iran

Do you remember that in 2003, American troops liberating Iraq found $762 million in American cash in Saddam's palaces? Well, American investigators traced the serial numbers on the banknotes to UBS, and found that UBS had also conducted transactions with Cuba, Iran, Libya, and Yugoslavia. So our first question of the day is just how did hundreds of millions of dollars in American currency sent by the Swiss bank to the Central Bank of Iran, make its way into Saddam Hussein's Iraq? And you already know the next and perhaps more important question: Why did American currency sent by the Swiss bank to the Central Bank of Iran end up in Iraq?:

(...) Congressional investigation will also focus on whether UBS and Swiss officials abetted an anti-American axis between Iran and Cuba.

(...) In 2003, after American troops liberating Iraq found $762 million in American cash in Saddam's palaces, the serial numbers on the banknotes were traced to UBS, which distributed the currency as part of the Extended Custodial Inventory Program run by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

(...) The Federal Reserve program, in cooperation with international banks, allowed clients to exchange old American banknotes for new ones. One condition of the program was that the international banks were not allowed to accept cash from countries against which America maintains sanctions. They also were not allowed to transfer cash to such countries. When American investigators probed the $762 million that emerged in Iraq, they found that UBS had also conducted transactions with Cuba, Iran, Libya, and Yugoslavia

(...) The matter is far from settled in Washington, however, as Congress investigates the possibility that UBS laundered $5 billion for state sponsors of terrorism, business dealings about which relatively little is known, owing to the confidentiality afforded by Swiss banking laws. Over the weekend, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican of Florida, announced that she and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican of California, will press for more answers from UBS, which, the congresswoman has said, is "not forthcoming" with details about how the illegal transactions took place.

(...) Over the course of months of unfruitful discussions, more questions about the business dealings have surfaced than have been answered, the congresswoman said. "This is like the hydra," Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said in an e-mail. "You answer one question, and 5 or 10 more develop."

(...) One question being explored is the Iranian involvement in the hundreds of millions of dollars in American cash unearthed in Iraq. A congressional staffer familiar with the matter said that the Swiss bank and the Federal Reserve reported that, based on the time frame of the transactions and the serial numbers on the banknotes found in Iraq, the American currency controlled by Saddam Hussein was part of a shipment of banknotes delivered to the Central Bank of Iran, for which UBS exchanged $1 billion in American banknotes under the Federal Reserve program.

(...) As part of the Federal Reserve program, UBS also provided $3.9 billion in American currency for the Castro regime. Some of the money came from the exchange of old banknotes under the Federal Reserve program, some from the purchase of new banknotes by the Castro dictatorship, and some as dollar credits put in the Havana strongman's accounts, according to background materials prepared in 2004 by Senate staff investigating the UBS dealings. The Swiss bank also issued letters of credit for the Castro regime as it purchased petroleum, the congressional staffer said.

(...) Because of the Swiss bank's assistance with the Cuban petroleum purchases; because UBS is accused of laundering $3.9 billion for Cuba between 1996 and 2003 as it was possibly laundering $1 billion for Iran; because Tehran and Havana have a documented alliance, and because the two regimes have an increasingly close cooperation when it comes to energy and technology, the congressional investigation will also focus on whether UBS and Swiss officials abetted the Tehran-Havana anti-American axis.

(...) According to press accounts, for example, in the 1990s, during the time UBS was purportedly laundering Cuban and Iranian money, Cuba and Iran undertook a joint venture for a large-scale biological research facility outside Tehran. When the complex was opened in the summer of 2001, Mr. Castro and the Iranian ayatollah, Ali Khameini, proclaimed: "Together we will bring America to its knees."

So while we sleep, the Islamists, the money launderers, the money changers, and the international "money managers" are busy at work in a collaborative effort to destroy America and turn our churches into mosques and ammunition dumps. That's a rather sobering thought!

And as to our second question - WHY did those funds from Iran end up in the hands of Sadaam, we still don't know the answer. And we don't even know WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO IRAQ'S MISSING $ 1BN. (More on Iraq's missing money here.)

Posted by Richard at October 13, 2005 8:16 AM



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