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Interpol 'refuses to help' in Arafat adviser case

May 18, 2012 1:00 P.M. (Updated: May 22, 2012 5:51 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Interpol is refusing to cooperate with Palestinian prosecutors to summon a former presidential economic adviser to the West Bank to answer corruption charges, the attorney-general said Friday.

Ahmad al-Mughni told Ma'an that Muhammad Rashid, who served former President Yasser Arafat, has failed to respond to repeated summons.

Palestinian Authority anti-corruption commission chief Rafiq Natsheh said Wednesday that Rashid was accused of embezzling tens of millions of dollars from the Palestine Investment Fund by setting up front companies.

Natsheh said Rashid's case was transferred to his commission in early May, but said the momentum in the case was not linked to the defendant's recent appearances on the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya satellite channel.

Al-Mughni said prosecutors had sent a summons notice to Rashid's office in Cairo over a year ago and that he had called Rashid personally asking him to return for investigations. He said Rashid told him he was unable to enter the West Bank.

The attorney-general added that he had asked Interpol to intervene but it would not help because Palestine is not a recognized state. If Palestine was a member of the UN it would be easier to bring suspects in front of the Palestinian judiciary, he said.

Rashid's arrest is also complicated by his multiple identities, al-Mughni added.

"We heard from Interpol representatives that Muhammad Rashid has more than one passport and moves between countries under different names. We have information that he carries five passports in more than one name."

The PA Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant linked to Rashid's diplomatic passport, he said.
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