AMMAN Ñ Interpol has rejected a Jordanian request for a warrant for
the arrest of an Iraqi opposition leader.
Jordanian officials said the international police agency refused to
process an arrest warrant submitted by the Hashemite kingdom for Ahmad
Chalabi. Chalabi is a leader of the pro-U.S. Iraqi National Council who has
returned to Baghdad in wake of the fall of President Saddam Hussein.
Chalabi was accused of stealing about $300 million from the Petra Bank.
The INC leader has denied the charges and said they were brought against him
under pressure from Saddam, Middle East Newsline reported.
U.S. officials said the Petra Bank collapse was investigated in the late
1990s when Congress approved $97 million for the Iraqi opposition, including
the INC. They said the investigation determined that the Jordanian charges
against Chalabi were politically motivated.
Officials said Interpol refused to process the Jordanian request for a
warrant against Chalabi because he was convicted in a state security court, rather than in a civilian court. Amman has pledged to retry Chalabi in a
In 1978 Chalabi co-founded Petra Bank in Amman and was accused of being
involved in funding deals with Iran and Iraq. The bank collapsed in 1989 and
Chalabi fled the country and moved to the United States.
The Jordanian request called for Interpol to issue a warrant for
Chalabi's arrest, which would have required the international community to
seek and capture the INC leader. Officials said the Hashemite kingdom wanted
to have Chalabi arrested and extradited to Jordan to face trial for
In 1992, a Jordanian court convicted Chalabi in absentia of charges of
embezzlement, fraud and breach of trust. The court sentenced Chalabi to 22
years in prison.