Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Academics who study the economics of the Gaza Strip have conservatively estimated that there are at least 1700 Gaza residents who are millionaires, and this in a territory with 40% unemployment. All the senior Hamas leadership, and most ranking government figures, have enriched themselves through a wide variety of illegal actions:

(1) the diversion of foreign aid funds to the personal use of these corrupt PEPs.
(2) Well-meaning cash donations meant for Gaza's citizens, stolen upon receipt in Gaza, and pocketed.
(3)  Charging clearly excessive prices for goods and services in which the owner has a monopoly, conferred by Hamas.
(4) Taking a portion of taxes collected from legitimate businesses.
(5) Bribes and kickbacks.
(6) Bank fraud and charitable donations diverted into Hamas pockets.
(7) Covert payments from foreign supporters, including countries that are state sponsors of terrorism.

Hamas leaders, Khaled Mashaal and Ismael Haniyah, are both billionaires; most of it is in US Dollars, although they have substantial real estate holdings, both within Gaza, and in other countries. The vast majority of senior staff, in all segments of this pseudo-government, are totally corrupt.

A substantial portion of the $5.5bn now pledged for the reconstruction of Gaza will end up in the hands of the kleptocracy that is the Gaza Government. This means that there will be increased risk that portion of that money will be transported, covertly, by bulk cash smuggling, and openly, by wire transfer through cooperating banks in third countries, and eventually into international banks operating in  Europe and North America.

Some of your existing high net-worth account holders, who will be holding passports from a low-risk jurisdiction, either in the Middle East, or in Europe, and who are ethnic Arabs, may be making substantial deposits later this year. Not just Hamas officials, either; you can count on the Fatah/PA officials administering the fund disbursement to take a share for themselves. It will be up to you to absolutely rule out, through verifiable evidence, any indication that the funds are diverted Gaza aid. Otherwise, you must decline them.

Given the fact that reconstruction money for Gaza has disappeared during rebuilding programs in prior years, you can expect that there will soon again be an obscene amount of cash stolen or diverted by Hamas. Without proof positive that it is legitimate earnings, as gatekeeper, do not let it in, lest you later find your bank in a law enforcement investigation for money laundering and providing material support to a designated terrorist organization..   

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