Financial Times, September 09 2014: … said: “I can confirm that there are legal proceedings, but I can’t discuss the contents.” Mr Khalilzad and Ms Benard are “vigorously contesting the seizure of the accounts”, their lawyers said, and she has lodged an appeal against the seizure in the Austrian courts. Mr Khalilzad, who now runs his own consultancy firm …
Former US ambassador faces money laundering probe
By Richard McGregor in Washington and Jeevan Vasagar in Berlin
Zalmay Khalilzad, a former US ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq, has vigorously defended himself against reports that he is being investigated for money laundering over funds held in an account in his wife’s name in Austria.
Austrian magazine Profil reported on Monday that the Austrian bank account of Mr Khalilzad’s wife Cheryl Benard had been frozen in relation to a money laundering investigation.
The magazine cited a mutual assistance request from US authorities dating from May 2013, that said Mr Khalilzad transferred €1.15m into his wife’s account in Vienna.
The magazine said the investigation concerned relationships with businesses in Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. Profil said documents relating to the case had been dumped as waste paper by Austria’s ministry of justice, and then apparently picked up by a local blogger rummaging its garbage containers in Vienna.
In a statement issued by lawyers representing the couple, Mr Khalilzad confirmed that the US Department of Justice had sent what he called “a routine request to the Austrian authorities” for records of bank accounts in Vienna “in the name of” Ms Benard.
“The DoJ request for information does not contain evidence of money laundering or other offenses on the part of Ambassador Khalilzad or Ms Benard,” the statement said.
“However, for reasons that remain unclear, an Austrian prosecutor ignored the plain language of the DoJ request and froze Ms Benard’s accounts solely on the basis of the request for information.”
A spokeswoman for the state prosecutor in Vienna confirmed the existence of a legal inquiry, but declined to discuss the details.
Asked whether there was an investigation into alleged money-laundering relating to Mr Khalilzad, a spokeswoman for the Vienna state prosecutor Nina Bussek said: “I can confirm that there are legal proceedings, but I can’t discuss the contents.”
Mr Khalilzad and Ms Benard are “vigorously contesting the seizure of the accounts”, their lawyers said, and she has lodged an appeal against the seizure in the Austrian courts.
Mr Khalilzad, who now runs his own consultancy firm in Washington, has lobbied for the Kurdish regional administration in northern Iraq in the past and also represented foreign businesses in Iraq. He has also represented the main Iranian opposition movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, or MEK.
Ms Benard is a researcher for the RAND Corporation and also founded the Alliance for the Restoration of Cultural Heritage, a non-profit which aims to promote the preservation of ancient civilisations.
A spokesman for the DoJ declined to comment.
Israel gave fake Iran dossier to Mojahedin Khalq (Rajavi cult)
Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult) only to
LOBBY for the murderers of their servicemen
Matt Potter, Sab Diego Reader, August 21 2014: … It may seem a bit late, but ex-San Diego mayor Bob Filner, who quit office following revelations of sexual harassment last summer, has just received a warning from California’s Fair Political Practices Commission. In a letter dated July 23, commission senior counsel Neal Bucknell calls out Filner for …
Daniel Larison, Th American Conservative, August 10 2014: …It’s important to remember that the MEK and its umbrella group are not “the main Iranian opposition” or anything like it. For one thing, the real “main” Iranian opposition is still in Iran, and unlike the MEK it is not widely loathed by Iranians. Naturally, any exile group would like foreign governments to believe that …
Prof. James Petras, Global Research, July 22 2014: …In addition, the US-Israeli axis has been deeply involved in financing and promoting collaborator opposition forces in Lebanon (currently the Hariri political formation), sectors of the armed mercenaries in Syria, Kurdish Peshmerga militias in Iraq and the so-called ‘Mujahedeen al Khalq’ terrorists in …