x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Palestinians ask countries to seize assets of former Fatah security chief

The Palestinian Authority has asked foreign governments to seize the assets of Mohammed Dahlan, a former security chief in the Fatah movement.

JERUSALEM // The Palestinian Authority has asked foreign governments to seize the assets of Mohammed Dahlan, a former security chief in the Fatah movement once touted as a successor to Yasser Arafat.

Jordan is one of the countries that has received the request to take control of the bank accounts and real estate belonging to Mr Dahlan and has complied with it, sources in Ramallah and Amman said.

The identities of the other countries could not be confirmed. The Israeli media reported last week that Egypt and the UAE had also been asked by the Palestinian Authority to freeze Mr Dahlan's assets on its behalf.

The move is the latest in a series of measures taken by Fatah, which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, also heads, against Mr Dahlan.

"This man is a gangster," said a Fatah source familiar with the measures, calling Mr Dahlan's wealth a product of corruption and close ties to the CIA.

Israeli media also reported last week Palestinian officials had requested that authorities in Egypt and the UAE target Mr Dahlan's holdings, but so far only Jordan had complied.

The chief general prosecutor in Amman, Mohammad Sorani, also reportedly ordered the state to seize the assets of Mr Dahlan and his brother, Abed Raboh Dahlan, and a businessman named Burhan Mohammad Rashid. Mr Rashid's connection to the Dahlan brothers is unclear.

The value of the targeted assets is uncertain, but one Fatah official said it amounted to millions of dollars and included real estate and media-related entities in Jordan.

According to Jordan's trade and industry ministry, 46 companies are registered in Jordan under the Dahlan name and are valued from tens of thousands of dollars to as much as US$17.6 million (Dh64.6m).

Jordan's Al Ghad newspaper reported last week that Abed Raboh Dahlan owned a 4 per cent stake in Dimensions Investments, a Jordan-based company owned by Jordanian, Pakistani and Emirati investors. It is involved in upscale real estate in Amman and the construction of a university in Aqaba.

Fatah's ruling central committee expelled Mr Dahlan from the faction last year, after Palestinian security forces raided his home in Ramallah, stripped him of his security detail and accused him of corruption and trying to stage a coup. An internal Fatah report leaked to the media in August accused him of poisoning Arafat shortly before his death in 2004, but no evidence supporting the claim was made public.

Formal charges have yet to brought against Mr Dahlan, who fled abroad last year. He is believed to have offended Mr Abbas in 2010, when he criticised the Palestinian president's sons and their involvement in a number of business ventures in Palestinian areas.

 

hnaylor@thenational.ae