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Disputes Loom Over Arafat-Controlled Wealth


Yasser Arafat is believed to have controlled a vast amount of money.

Estimates of the funds range from hundreds of millions to several billion dollars, with much of the money held in international bank accounts and stocks. It is believed that only Mr. Arafat had knowledge of where all of the accounts are located, and how to access them.

For a long time, Mr. Arafat oversaw the billions of dollars in international aid that flowed into Palestinian Authority coffers. In 2003, the International Monetary Fund reported that about $1 billion was missing from Palestinian accounts.

However, earlier this week, Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath said that to his knowledge Mr. Arafat never deposited money into an account without a counter signature from someone else in the Palestinian Authority.

He said most money held in separate accounts has been redeposited in the new Palestinian Investment Authority, which recently published its report on the Internet. He also told the Cable News Network that most of the current talk about money is insignificant and meaningless.

Some information for this story provided by AP and AFP.


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