"Weapons of Mass Deception"


US confirms Iraq money investigation

January 24 2005

By Foreign Affairs Editor Peter Cave

The United States has confirmed that it is investigating reports that $300 million in US currency was secretly flown out of Iraq to Lebanon, allegedly to buy weapons from arms dealers.

The allegation has been at the centre of a nasty public spat between the interim Defence Minister, Hazim al-Shaalan, and the leading politician and former US favourite Ahmed Chalabi.

The US Ambassador John Negroponte told CNN that he was unsure if the money was missing or had been used to buy weapons.

Over the weekend the the Defence Minister threatened to arrest Dr Chalabi who heads the Iraqi National Congress after he raised questions about the propriety of the shadowy removal of hundreds of thousands of dollars to Lebanon aboard a military flight.

He suggested the money subsequently went missing.

The government says the money was sent to buy tanks and other heavy weaponry to put together an armoured division for the Iraqi military.

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