Federal Agents Obtain Arrest Warrant for Financier
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Federal agents have obtained an arrest warrant for financier Adnan Khashoggi in connection with fraud and racketeering charges filed against him and deposed Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, the Los Angeles Times reported today.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabian businessman is believed to be ″lying low″ in a European country while he consults with advisers about how he should respond to the fraud and racketeering indictment, the newspaper said.
The Times, citing unnamed sources, said officials believe Khashoggi won’t surrender to face the U.S. charges.
The sources said the warrant was issued in an effort to find Khashoggi before he relocates to a country without formal extradition agreements with the United States.
Sources close to Khashoggi told the newspaper the financier is considering returning to his native Saudi Arabia.
Although he believes he would ultimately be cleared of the charges, the sources said, he is concerned about the possibility of being arrested, jailed and extradited to the United States.
An English-language newspaper in Saudi Arabia, Arab News of Jiddah, reported Thursday under a Riyadh dateline that Khashoggi ″vehemently″ denies the charges. The newspaper declined to say how it had received the statement.
″He is disappointed that a technical legal question involving the scope of an injunction in a civil case to which he was not a party has been converted into a criminal allegation in a totally unprecedented manner,″ the newspaper said. ″He is confident that when all of the facts are made public as the proceeding progresses, his lack of culpability will become manifest.″
The United States has extradition agreements with France, Britain and Spain, the countries where Khashoggi currently maintains his primary residences.
No such agreement exists with Saudi Arabia, however.
Khashoggi, whose wealth once symbolized the rising economic power of the oil-rich Arab world in the 1970s, was once reported to be the world’s richest man. But his financial empire began to crumble amid a pile of debt in the early 1980s.
The U.S. government is now accusing him of acting as a front for Marcos to help divert assets and hide Marcos’ ownership of real estate and valuable art.
Meanwhile, Marcos’ arraignment in New York was delayed Thursday by U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan until a court-appointed doctor can examine the 71-year-old former Philippine leader.
Marcos’ attorneys argued he was too ill to travel to New York for the arraignment. However, his wife, Imelda, was ordered to appear in New York on Monday.