Special Reports
Khalid Bin Mahfouz dies of heart attack
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Aug 21, 2009, 00:21

(WMR) -- The Saudi newspaper, Asharq Alawsat, is reporting from Jeddah that Saudi billionaire banker Khalid Bin Mahfouz, the controversial former director of the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia and someone who was often accused of being linked to financial support to groups associated with �Al Qaeda� -- with Mahfouz�s legal team carrying out rapid lawsuit action mainly in London against transgressing journalists -- died this past Saturday from a sudden heart attack at his home in Jeddah.

Arab Newson, August 18, reported: �Recently Bin Mahfouz cleared his name from accusations he was funding terrorism through the Blessed Relief charity of the Muwafaq Foundation, an organization devoted to famine relief.�

On September 21, 2005, WMR reported, �In 1992, according to The Houston Chronicle, George W. Bush�s friend James Bath was investigated by the Treasury Department�s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) and the FBI. Investigators suspected Saudi investors who worked with Bath of illegally trying to influence U.S. policy during the Reagan and Bush I administrations. Bath invested Saudi money in Arbusto �70 Ltd., Arbusto �80 Ltd., and Bush Exploration Co. (which later morphed into Harken Energy Corp., which included George W. Bush as its director). After Desert Storm, Harken was granted lucrative off-shore drilling rights by Bahrain, a Desert Storm coalition partner. One of the other shareholders of Harken, along with Bush, was Saudi businessman Abdullah Taha Bakhsh. According to the Chronicle, Bath, who was a sole agent of Salem Bin Laden [older brother of Osama Bin Laden], was also the sole director of Skyway Aircraft Leasing Corp., one of the affiliates of Skyways International. Bath established four corporate entities with the name �Skyway� and the firm that incorporated the corporate contrivances in the Cayman Islands for Bath was the same one that established a Cayman-based money laundering front company for Oliver North in the Iran-contra scandal. In 1977, Bath bought Houston Gulf Airport on behalf of Salem Bin Laden. Skyway Aircraft Leasing Corporation was, according to the Chronicle, owned by Khalid Bin Mahfouz, a major shareholder in the defunct Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), a major money laundering activity for George H. W. Bush�s Iran-contra caper. Bin Mahfouz was also the owner of the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia.�

On June 19, 2009, WMR reported: �In order to suppress press freedom in the United States, individuals have threatened to sue U.S. journalists for libel in foreign jurisdictions like England where the burden of proof is on the journalist to prove the facts of his or her story. Libel plaintiffs often seek outrageous judgments and legal fees in courts in London from American journalists to shut down their investigations . . . The �big daddy� of such lawsuits is Khalid Bin Mahfouz, a Bush family crony and Saudi billionaire who has threatened some 30 lawsuits against American authors in England. In fact, influential Saudis are the chief instigators or lawsuits against U.S. journalists in London courts.�

In October 2006, French authors Guillaume Dasquie and Charles Brisard were forced to publicly apologize to Khalid Bin Mahfouz and his son Sheikh Abdulrahman Bin Mahfouz for allegations in their book �Forbidden Truth� that linked Khalid Bin Mahfouz�s business enterprises to support for terrorist groups. This editor wrote one of the introductions for �Forbidden Truth.� The Bin Mahfouzes took legal actions against the two authors in courts in the UK and Switzerland.

The sudden death of Bin Mahfouz comes after reports that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to the United States and someone so close to the Bush family he has been called �Bandar Bush,� was placed under house arrest after a failed coup against Saudi King Abdullah. The report on Bandar�s arrest came from a Saudi opposition movement, the Islamic Reform Movement.

The reported arrest of Bandar and the sudden death of Mahfouz not only marks the loss of Bush family influence in Saudi Arabia, but removes from the scene two individuals who constantly threatened lawsuits against journalists who attempted to delve into the murky business dealings between two influential Saudis and America�s most influential political dynasty.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright � 2009 WayneMadenReport.com

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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