This story sure is generating some interesting twists and turns. From the Daily Mail:
Saddam Hussain gave £840,000 to the family of the British engineer who was murdered with his wife in the Alps, it was claimed last night.
The former Iraqi dictator is said to have deposited the sum in a Swiss bank account in the name of Saad Al-Hilli’s father.
The claim, which apparently originated with German intelligence, adds a sensational twist to the baffling case. . . .
It raises the possibility that Mr Al-Hilli had managed to gain access to the account, which is thought to have remained in his father’s name, and that this was known to his killer.
The story was reported in the respected French newspaper Le Monde. It said that a French police source had revealed that the money’s source had been discovered by German intelligence agency BND.
The agency’s operatives routinely monitored the flow of cash to and from Baghdad as Germany did more business with the Saddam regime than any other country.
An intelligence source in Munich said last night: ‘They know the money trail, and they know how to follow it. They have spent decades monitoring money transactions between the West and Iraq. The BND is the first port of call in such circumstances.’
The BND said they had no comment on the report, saying: ‘We do not comment on operations.’
The Le Monde story was published under the headline: ‘The potential links between the Al-Hillis and Saddam Hussein.’
It said: ‘According to a French police source, the German secret service informed the gendarmerie’s anti-terrorist branch that there were links between the Al-Hilli family and Saddam Hussein’s fortune.
‘The tensions began after Saad Al-Hilli’s father [Kadhim] was struck off the list of beneficiaries of the former Iraqi dictator.’
It has always been suggested that Kadhim’s multi-million pound legacy – he died last year – led to conflict between Saad, who lived in Claygate, Surrey, and his brother Zaid who lives in nearby Chessington. However Zaid strongly denies there was any such feud.
Shortly after his murder, it emerged that Saad Al-Hilli had put a block on his father’s will, which effectively stopped his brother from inheriting his share until ‘unknown’ disputes were resolved.
But Le Monde says it was the money in the Swiss bank account – not the rest of the legacy – that may have caused friction between the two brothers.
. . . Shortly before the dictator was executed in 2006, it was revealed that he withdraw around £620 million from the Iraqi central bank in 2003, which he had begun to hide around the world. The assets would have been added to millions already deposited in accounts in other countries – mainly through Iraqis who had moved abroad.
Saddam is known to have concentrated large amounts in Switzerland and France, where he had at least two homes and moored a £17 million yacht.
If Saad Al-Hilli was party to this secret information – and indeed the location of the hidden millions – then he would have been an obvious target for an attack.
. . . In a separate development, it emerged yesterday that Mr Al-Hilli made a desperate attempt to drive his family to safety under a hail of bullets, but his car got stuck on a verge. The gunmen then moved in to finish them off at close range. Investigators believe the killer was alone and used only one weapon, a pistol common in the Swiss army in the Twenties and Thirties.