Sonic Puke
It's all fun and games until somebody pokes out an eye

5/06/2003

Hussein's Son Took $1 Billion Just Before War, Bank Aide Says
Saddam and sons stuffing pockets instead of feeding the people of Iraq ;(


In the hours before American bombs began falling on the Iraqi capital, one of President Saddam Hussein's sons and a close adviser carried off nearly $1 billion in cash from the country's Central Bank, according to American and Iraqi officials here.

The removal of the money, which would amount to one of the largest bank robberies in history, was performed under the direct orders of Mr. Hussein, according to an Iraqi official with knowledge of the incident. The official, who asked not to be identified, said that no financial rationale had been offered for removing the money from the bank's vaults, and that no one had been told where the money would be taken.

"When you get an order from Saddam Hussein, you do not discuss it," said the Iraqi official, who held a senior position in a bank under Mr. Hussein's government. He said he had been told about the seizure of the cash by the Iraqi financial officials who had turned over the money to Mr. Hussein's son and the adviser.

The sheer volume of the cash was so great ? some $900 million in American $100 bills and as much as $100 million worth of euros ? that three tractor-trailers were needed to cart it off, the Iraqi official said. It took a team of workers two hours to load up the cash. Their work was completed before employees of the downtown Baghdad bank arrived for work.

The seizure of the money was confirmed by a United States Treasury official assigned to work with Iraqi financial officers here to rebuild the country's banking and financial system.

Iraqi officials said they were uncertain of the effects that the disappearance of $1 billion would have on the Iraqi economy. The Iraqi official said the removal of the money amounted to about a quarter of the Central Bank's hard currency reserves.

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