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KUWAIT CITY, July 30: An American court has received a complaint against the former Defense minister Sheikh Al-Khaled Al-Jarrah, who is involved in the “Army Fund” scandal that had almost concluded with a ruling of acquittal by the Court of Ministers in March, had it not been for the pending appeal in August, reports Al-Seyassah daily. In its complaint, the US Department of Justice stressed that Sheikh Khaled, his sons and ten others conspired to embezzle and illegally seize public funds belonging to Kuwait and its people, including $104 million, which Kuwait is racing against time to recover.
Sheikh Khaled was also accused of laundering money and investing in American real estate confiscated by the United States, all of which happened far from the eyes of the Ministry of Finance or any regulatory authority in Kuwait. The legal counsel representing Kuwaiti government Lawyer Brown Rudnick Leib affirmed in a hearing held by the US Supreme Court in Los Angeles on May 20 last year that Kuwait was entitled to the $104 million. He said, “Al-Jarrah and his sons own real estate purchased with this money that was confiscated by the United States. Al-Jarrah pumped about $160 million into the property investments in the prestigious Beverly Hills in Southern California.
Al- Jarrah and his sons were unjustly enriched at the expense of Kuwait. He conspired with ten others and opened at least six accounts in the name of Kuwait’s Ministry of Defense.” Meanwhile, representatives of the US Department of Justice submitted a “complaint of confiscation” against the so-called “Mountain” property, indicating that funds were embezzled from the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense that were used to invest in this property in California. In the complaint submitted to the court on May 13, they highlighted the embezzlement and the ways through which funds were transferred away from the supervision of the Kuwaiti agencies.
They said Sheikh Khaled agreed with businessmen in California to develop the “Mountain” real estate, and he transferred $ 104 million to banks in California between 2012 and 2015, adding that he is also involved in money laundering by transferring tens of millions of dollars, from the “Department of Defense – Military Attache” account through banks in California. They explained that the total amount transferred from December 2011 until July 2015 amounted to about $ 218,946,744.00 at least from the accounts of the National Bank of Kuwait and deposited in the accounts of the “Ministry of Defense – Military Attaché”. These transfers were not entered in the records of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense and are not in accordance with Kuwaiti law.
They have not been disclosed or approved by the Ministry of Finance or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and have not been subject to audit in semi-annual reports. They stated that the real estate purchase was made by establishing companies with the cooperation of Victorino Noval, Samir Mahlawi and others. The representatives demanded confiscation of real estate in accordance with article 18 of the American law. In addition, Madison MacDonald, a special agent with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, declared that the “forfeiture complaint” against real estate in Los Angeles, California is valid.