AL WASEL AND BABEL GENERAL TRADING LLC

IQe.197
AL WASEL AND BABEL GENERAL TRADING LLC
Date on which the narrative summary became available on the Committee's website: 
29 October 2014
Reason for listing: 

Al Wasel And Babel General Trading LLC was listed on 26 April 2004 in connection with the measures contained in paragraph 23 (b) of resolution 1483 (2003), as “funds or other financial assets or economic resources that have been removed from Iraq, or acquired, by Saddam Hussein or other senior officials of the former Iraqi regime and their immediate family members, including entities owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by them or by persons acting on their behalf or at their direction”
 

Additional information: 

“Al Wasel and Babel General Trading LLC (AWB) is a company in the United Arab Emirates used by the former Iraqi regime to obtain a 10-percent kickback on goods purchased through the UN Oil-for-Food (OFF) Program and to procure goods unauthorized by the United Nations.
A letter signed by former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hikmat Mizban Ibrahim al-Azzawi, dated 2 January 2001, provided instructions for the Iraqi government to obtain a 10-percent fee payment on all goods purchased from other countries under OFF. The letter instructed Iraqi government officials to purchase the goods through trading companies, one of which was AWB.
A separate document from al-Azzawi set out the procedure for collecting the 10-percent fee from companies engaging in trade with Iraq. The document specifies that the Rafidain Bank in Jordan can be used for receiving the funds in these transfers and that AWB is to be used to transfer the goods.
Information in the possession of the United States indicates that AWB was involved in an attempt by Iraq to purchase a sophisticated surface-to-air missile system. Approximately $43.5 million was in a United Arab Emirates (UAE) bank that was to be used as partial payment for this system under the terms and conditions of the missile contract. This purchase involving military goods was prohibited under United Nations sanctions against Iraq.
An investigation of the missile deal by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's office (BICE), in Tampa Florida, revealed that:
- A business account for AWB was opened at the Abu Dhabi National Bank (NBAD) in December 2000 by a UAE national and Hikmat Jarjes Bahnam, an Iraqi national whose passport identifies him as an Iraqi government official. Both were named as licensed for trading for AWB. Tarik Nasser S. Al Obaidi, an Iraqi national, was also a signatory of this account.
- One early transaction of the NBAD business account was an inbound transfer of $7 million by order of Hekmat Mazban Ibrahim, who is probably Hikmat Mizban Ibrahim al-Azzawi, in December 2000. Shortly thereafter, $6.9 million of that amount was transferred by order of al-Azzawi to a second AWB account.
- From early 2001 to early 2002 there were numerous additional transfers between two AWB accounts resulting in a balance of $43.5 million in one of them.
- Documents obtained during the investigation show that the $43.5 million balance was directly related to "contract N24398," the purpose of which was to fulfill the sale of the radar controlled surface-to-air missile system to Iraq.
An official of the Abu Dhabi National Bank told U.S. BICE investigators that it was unusual that the AWB accounts that contained the $43.5 million only had Iraqi personnel as signatories for accessing the monies. The bank official told the investigators that the principal of the company, a UAE citizen, had no control over the monies deposited, and that the Iraqi government and its agents are the real owners of AWB.
Tarik al-'Ubaydi, an Iraqi national who previously served as director of the Iraqi Central Bank and as of 2001 was part of AWB's office staff, and Iraqi national Joseph Girguis who was also formerly employed by the Iraqi Central Bank, acted as Uday Saddam Hussein's representatives in Dubai.”