The US military has awarded an $80 million contract to a prominent Saudi financier who has been indicted by the US Justice Department. The contract to supply jet fuel to American bases in Afghanistan was awarded to the Attock Refinery Ltd, a Pakistani-based refinery owned by Gaith Pharaon. Pharaon is wanted in connection with his alleged role at the failed Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), and the CenTrust savings and loan scandal, which cost US tax payers $1.7 billion.
The Saudi businessman was also named in a 2002 French parliamentary report as having links to informal money transfer networks called hawala, known to be used by traders and terrorists, including Al Qaeda.
Interestingly, Pharaon was also an investor in President George W. Bush's first business venture, Arbusto Energy.
Well, I'm sure Gaith Pharaon's connection to Arbusto, BCCI and criminality is just a coincidence. Just an accident of circumstance. What are the chances, really?
BCCI was the biggest bank fraud in history ($10-15 billion stolen). Some history:
In 1979, when [George W.] Bush started up Arbusto Energy in Houston, one of his investors was James Bath, the US business representative of Salem bin Laden-- [half] brother of Osama. Though it has yet to be proven, many suspect Bath's $50,000 investment came directly from Salem. Following bin Laden's death in 1988, his Houston-based interests were absorbed by Khalid bin Mahfouz. As a result, Bush soon found himself in hot water during the BCCI scandal, when investigations into the bank's finances revealed that many of the indicted BCCI executives invested heavily in Harken Energy (a reincarnation of Arbusto). Bush denied any knowledge of the BCCI investment, though this answer appears to be disingenuous at best. Bin Mahfouz, a BCCI principal, was implicated in the collective fraud, though not directly connected to Bush's company.
in the years after the collapse of BCCI, Khalid bin Mahfouz was still flush with cash. In 1992, he established the Muwafaq ("blessed relief") Foundation in the offshore Channel Islands. The U.S. Treasury Department called it "an al Qaeda front that receives funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen."