Top PA officials established shell companies to launder money destined for Hamas.
By Baruch Yedid, TPS
An intricate affair of fraud, corruption, and money laundering by senior Palestinian Authority (PA) officials who transferred the funds to Hamas terrorists training in Malaysia has been exposed, TPS reports.
Official PA documents obtained by TPS show that Mahmoud Al-Habash, Supreme Sharia Judge in the PA and PA head Mahmoud Abbas’ Adviser on Religious and Islamic Affairs and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Sharia Justice, is in the center of the corruption case, which is already sending shock waves through the PA.
Habash is suspected of having established shell companies through which funds were laundered and then transferred from Dubai to Malaysia, where Hamas has broadened its activities in recent months.
Habash’s accomplice is the PA’s Ambassador to Malaysia Anwar Al-Agha.
The two established ties in 2011 and began to collaborate in 2014 after Al-Agha was appointed an ambassador in Malaysia.
Al-Agha’s wife was registered as a partner in the shell companies without her knowledge, but after the two separated over a financial dispute she discovered her husband’s illegal dealings and subsequently divorced him because of them.
Attempting to cover his tracks, Habash contacted the PA’s intelligence and reported that the two were divorced following an affair the ambassador’s wife had.
The report also determined that Habash abused his religious activities and senior office to support Hamas. Habash, previously a Hamas member in Gaza, was stationed by Mahmoud Dahlan in Ramallah in 2007 with the task of publicly defaming his former organization. Publicly, Habash did as he was tasked but secretly continued to act on Hamas’ behalf.
Habash has ties with another Hamas member, the Algerian Fatah al-Nuri, formerly of Gaza. The two own several companies with bank accounts in Algeria, Turkey, Portugal and Jordan.
Habash also maintains ties with the PA’s ambassador to Sudan Abed al Fatah al-Satri. The two worked with Yasser Abbas, son of PA head Abbas, in a series of schemes to launder funds for terror groups and illegal trade in oil from Sudan, an affair exposed by TPS in a previous report.
Ramallah has been in turmoil and officials have been trading allegations and political blows after the recent exposure of a series of PA-related corruption cases.
A.Q., a PA official, told TPS that corruption reaches the highest echelons, including Abbas’ inner circle, and that the support for Hamas coming from within the PA threatens the PA’s own regime.
Dr. Ehud Rosen, of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), noted that Malaysia’s 92-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad maintains close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood around the world, and especially with Hamas.
Responding to TPS’ request for comment, Habash’s bureau chief Khaled Barude dismissed the report as baseless allegations. He denied any ties between Habash and al-Agha and refused to discuss the matter any further accept in a meeting in Habash’s office in Ramallah.
Habash has not responded to TPS’ direct inquiries, and Barude refused to relay TPS questions.