Jordan freezes assets of 55 persons, companies in greatest financial scandal
Jordan, Economics, 2/18/2002
The attorney general of the Jordanian state security court on Sunday ordered the freezing of the assets of 55 companies and persons suspected to be involved in one of the largest "law violation" cases in Jordan of USD 100 million taken from Jordanian national banks by a Jordanian businessman who escaped outside the country with the help of partners.
In a statement to the media and the press, the attorney general also decided to prevent those persons involved in the scanddal from leaving the country, ordering the media not to publish their names. Most of those persons are Jordanians and very few who are of Arab nationalities.
This decision came just two days after the attorney general started investigations in the case of the "violation" committed basically by the Jordanian businessman Majd al-Shameylah who escaped from Jordan just three weeks ago. The attorney general also decided to summon others to investigate including former high ranking officials. Among the suspects is the former minister of agriculture Zuheir Zanounah.
A government source said that al-Shameylah is currently in Moscow but he is moving rapidly from one country to another to avoid the taking of any judicial measures against him abroad. It is expected, however, that the Jordanian authorities will resort to the Interpol to arrest him.
In the context of investigation, the attorney general decided two days earlier to arrest five persons for 15 days.
The attorney general, attributed to those, they are two businessmen, one lawyer and two senior bankers, the accusations of " taking part in transferring sums that belong to an official department beside falsifying special documents relating to this state department.," namely the Jordanian general intelligence department. Banking sources indicate that the stolen sums are estimated at USD 150 million.
The investigations concentrate on that four Jordanian banks have given al-Shamaeylah banking facilities as assets and loans at a value of USD 100 million. Well-informed banks sources said that al-Shameylah who owns "Global Business" information technology company had, together with partners falsified documents and stamps of the general intelligence with the aim of getting bank loans and facilities for a project to establish an information technology system for this department.
The Jordanian attorney general is expected to summon within the few coming days officials at the banks concerned besides former officials including the chairman of the former intelligence Samih al-Batteikhi. Jordanian parliamentary sources expected al-Bateikhi to give his resignation from the Jordanian "upper house" because of this scandal.
Jordanian security sources said that three intelligence officers were brought to a court on this scandal. Al-Bateikhi, personally, supervised the process of King Abdullah assuming power in Jordan in 1999. High ranking Jordanian officials said that the Jordanian King is greatly angry because of this scandal which defames the morale and reputation of the Jordanian intelligence.
The Jordanian banks involved are the Jordanian al-Ahlai Bank (people's bank), the Jordanian Bank for investment and finance, the Jordanian and the al-Khaleij bank and the bank of exports.
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