When you start to think you have seen some weird happenings relating to federal contracts, something even more bizarre occurs. The U.S. military has awarded an $80 million contract to a prominent Saudi financier who has been indicted by the U.S. Justice Department. The contract to supply jet fuel to American bases in Afghanistan was awarded to the Attock Refinery Ltd, a Pakistani-based refinery owned by Gaith Pharaon. This man is wanted in connection with his alleged role at the failed Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), and the CenTrust savings and loan scandal, which cost American taxpayers $1.7 billion.
The Saudi businessman was also named in a 2002 French parliamentary report as having links to informal money transfer networks called “hawala,” known to be used by traders and terrorists, including Al Qaeda. Interestingly, Pharaon was also an investor in President George W. Bush’s first business venture, Arbusto Energy. According to media reports, Pharaon is not wanted in connection with the French report, but he is still being sought by the U.S. Justice Department. Richard Kolko, a spokesman for the FBI, put out this plea:
Ghaith Pharaon is an FBI fugitive indicted in both the BCCI and CENTRUST case. If anyone has information on his location, they are requested to contact the FBI or the US Embassy.
The U.S. military purchases jet fuel from Attock through a contractor Supreme Fuels, according to a U.S. government Web site. The $80 million contract for 2008 was posted last month on the Web site. Attock supplied the U.S. military more than $40 million worth of jet fuel in 2007, according to a spreadsheet posted on the site. ABC News reported that an official at Attock confirmed the refinery was supplying thousands of tons of jet fuel to the U.S. base at Bagram Air Base every month.
I wonder why this sort of stuff really doesn’t come as a surprise. When the book is finally written on Iraq I suspect there will be a tremendous number of scandals and financial abuse to read about.
Source: ABC News
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