First Published: 2015-02-25

UN: Saleh amassed between $32-60 billion
Saleh built up wealth through corruption, demanding kickbacks for oil, gas contracts, stealing public funds, other schemes.
Middle East Online

Pocketed nearly $2 billion per year

Yemen's ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh is believed to have amassed between $32 billion and $60 billion through corruption during his 33 years in power, a UN report said Wednesday.

A panel of experts reported to the UN Security Council that Saleh's assets were stashed in at least 20 countries and the team is investigating the ex-leader's connections with businessmen helping him to hide the funds.

The 15-member council in November imposed sanctions including an assets freeze on Saleh, who was forced out in 2012 under a Gulf-sponsored deal.

The council blacklisted Saleh for obstructing peace in Yemen, notably for backing the Shiite Huthi militia tha has seized power in Sanaa.

The report said Saleh built up his personal wealth through corruption, by demanding kickbacks for oil and gas contracts, stealing public funds and other schemes.

"The origin of the funds used to generate Ali Abdullah Saleh's wealth is believed to be partly from his corrupt practices as president of Yemen, particularly relating to gas and oil contracts where he reportedly asked for money in exchange for granting companies exclusive rights to prospect for gas and oil in Yemen," it said.

"It is also alleged that Ali Abdullah Saleh, his friends, his family and his associates stole money from the fuel subsidy program, which uses up to 10 per cent of Yemen's gross domestic product, as well as other ventures involving abuse of power, extortion and embezzlement."

The corruption allowed Saleh to pocket nearly $2 billion per year over the last three decades.

The council's decision to impose sanctions came as no surprise to Saleh who had been actively seeking to find ways to hide assets in anticipation of the move, the experts reported.

"He has had plenty of time and opportunity to circumvent measures to freeze assets," the report said.

The experts noted that many officials interviewed by the panel have argued for a return of Saleh's stolen funds to Yemen to help the country deal with its debt and economic problems.

International alarm has been growing over the crisis in Yemen, a key US ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda which borders Saudi Arabia.

The Huthis pushed their offensive last month, seizing the presidential palace and placing President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi under house arrest. Hadi fled Sanaa at the weekend and has resurfaced in Aden.

 

Qatar says Gulf crisis hindering fight against IS

Khamenei vows to 'shred' nuclear deal if US pulls out

Baghdad says mission accomplished in Kurd operation

Bahrain accuses Iran of harbouring 160 'terrorists'

Jobless Tunisians seek new migration routes to Europe

EU says Israeli settlements illegal under international law

Kurdish independence goes from dream to dust

Female commander more than just poster girl for Raqa victory

Saudi airline flies to Baghdad for first time in 27 years

Wanted Dead: France's approach to IS jihadists

Saudi Arabia to monitor interpretations of prophet's sayings

Italy busts Libyan diesel smugglers

Fate of IS fighters in Raqa uncertain

Turkish Red Crescent concerned by Idlib humanitarian ‘drama’

US firm to build solar plants in Gaza

Ghost city Raqa scanned for survivors, bombs

Qatar emir calls for talks on visit to Indonesia

Iraq calls on BP to help develop Kirkuk oil

Israeli forces raid Palestinian media offices linked to Hamas

French parliament is set to pass new anti-terror law

Israel says no to Palestine talks until Hamas disarms

IS territory down to almost 10% of 2014 ‘caliphate’

Over 3000 civilians flee Raqa under deal with jihadists

Ideology and objectives clash at Deir Ezzor

Erdogan gets Polish backing on Turkey's EU bid

Iranian guards commander killed in Syria

Fitch Ratings says threat to Qatar liquidity fading

Iran warns EU against new nuclear deal conditions

Turkey activists face trial next week under terror charges

Netanyahu presses Russian defence minister on Iran

US-backed forces announce Raqa recapture

Hollande slams Trump's hardline stance on Iran nuclear deal

Iraq takes control of two key Kirkuk oil fields

US-backed forces retake Raqa state hospital

Divided Iraq tests limited US influence

New UN envoy in Rabat to restart talks on WSahara

Iraqi forces seize Kirkuk governor's office

Iraqi forces seize airport, oil field from Kurds

Saudi Arabia sets conditions to role in Syria reconstruction

In tougher approach, US offers multimillion-dollar reward for Hezbollah operatives

EU ministers join forces in support of Iran deal

Batteries, tape to thank for defeating jihadists in Raqa

Palestinian Authority top official visits Gaza

Israel strikes Syrian anti-aircraft battery in response to shots

Qatar starts to feel pinch from sanctions