Another American lobbyist for Mojahedin Khalq, Zalmay Khalilzad faces money laundering probe

Another American lobbyist for Mojahedin Khalq, Zalmay Khalilzad faces money laundering probe

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 …

Why are Newt Gingrich, Joe Lieberman and Patrick Kennedy hanging with members of a terrorist cult? (Mojahedin Khalq, MEK, MKO, Rajavi cult)

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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.

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http://youtu.be/VqIfsnD8Ak4?list=UU0l93Nsn8szy9D4G7mhvfEQ

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