By B Izzak

MP Riyadh Al-Adasani

KUWAIT: Opposition MP Riyadh Al-Adasani yesterday asked His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah about what the government has done toward lawsuits filed last week by US Justice Department against former Kuwaiti defense officials.
Adasani said the US Justice Department through its offices in California filed several lawsuits to recover over $100 million that were allegedly embezzled by former officials in the Kuwaiti defense ministry between 2009 and 2016.

Adasani said that the former high-ranking Kuwaiti officials used the defense ministry military attache office in London to open at least six unauthorized bank accounts in the United States and transferred over $100 million to them from Kuwaiti public funds. He also said the US is seeking to recover $104.38 million suspected to have been used in money laundering operations. The lawmaker asked the prime minister to provide him with copies of the correspondence exchanged between government officials over procedures taken regarding this case.

The US Justice Department said last week it has filed seven lawsuits seeking the forfeiture of real estate, a private jet, a yacht and additional assets purchased with public funds allegedly embezzled by former high-level officials in Kuwait’s ministry of defense, part of which were transferred to California bank accounts operated by the son of a convicted felon.

In order to disguise the nature of the bank transfers, some of them were falsely described as being intended for military purposes, the Justice Department said on its website. According to the complaints, these funds were actually transferred to several California entities that had no business or contractual relationship with the ministry of defense.

The funds in the bank accounts were used to purchase or contribute to the improvement of a parcel of land in Beverly Hills known as “The Mountain,” three homes in Beverly Hills, a penthouse and an apartment in Westwood, a private jet, a yacht, a luxury sports car and approximately $40,000 worth of memorabilia of boxer Manny Pacquiao, it said.

Adasani recalled that he had raised several issues with suspected corruption armament deals, the Eurofighter aircraft and Caracal helicopter deals, in addition to the suspected corruption in the Airbus deal and the alleged graft case involving former social security agency chief. The lawmaker also called for more in-depth investigation into the alleged corruption in the ports fund and the Malaysian sovereign fund and others.

In the meantime, MP Mohammad Al-Dallal yesterday submitted a proposal calling for a comprehensive investigation into suspected irregularities into state land distributed to people to encourage agricultural production. The lawmaker’s call came a few days after the court of cassation decided to nullify the allotment of around 400 parcels of state land for violating the rules.