UBS, the giant Swiss bank that advertises itself as the "world's largest wealth managament firm", is under Congressional investigation to see if it has laundered money for, and abetted an anti—American axis of Baghdad, Tehran, and Havana. The investigative trail started with the $762 million in cash (as in Federal Reserve notes) seized by US forces when they invaded Iraq.
No firm conclusions have been reached, but a lot of questions remain unanswered.
Over the course of months of unfruitful discussions, more questions about the business dealings have surfaced than have been answered, the congresswoman said. "This is like the hydra," Ms. Ros—Lehtinen said in an e—mail. "You answer one question, and 5 or 10 more develop."
One question being explored is the Iranian involvement in the hundreds of millions of dollars in American cash unearthed in Iraq. A congressional staffer familiar with the matter said that the Swiss bank and the Federal Reserve reported that, based on the time frame of the transactions and the serial numbers on the banknotes found in Iraq, the American currency controlled by Saddam Hussein was part of a shipment of banknotes delivered to the Central Bank of Iran, for which UBS exchanged $1 billion in American banknotes under the Federal Reserve program.
How hundreds of millions of dollars in American currency sent by the Swiss bank to the Central Bank of Iran made its way into Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the staffer said, was not explained by representatives of UBS, and is one line of inquiry that will be explored during the House committee's investigations in December.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky
Thomas Lifson 10 12 05