HUFFINGTON POST
06/12/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Indicted Saudi Financier Gets $80 Million US Military Contract

The U.S. military suffered enormous embarrassment when the New York Times reported that a contract to arm the Afghan forces worth nearly $300 million had been awarded to a 22-year-old man, Efraim E. Diveroli, whose vice president was a licensed masseur. It turned out that Diveroli had been supplying the Afghans with defective weaponry and had broken numerous procurement laws. Apparently, the military has not learned their lesson. ABC News reports that they have awarded an $80 million contract to a prominent Saudi financier who has been indicted by the U.S. Justice Department:

The US military has awarded an $80 million contract to a prominent Saudi financier who has been indicted by the US Justice Department. The contract to supply jet fuel to American bases in Afghanistan was awarded to the Attock Refinery Ltd, a Pakistani-based refinery owned by Gaith Pharaon. Pharaon is wanted in connection with his alleged role at the failed Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), and the CenTrust savings and loan scandal, which cost US tax payers $1.7 billion.

The Saudi businessman was also named in a 2002 French parliamentary report as having links to informal money transfer networks called hawala, known to be used by traders and terrorists, including Al Qaeda.

Interestingly, Pharaon was also an investor in President George W. Bush's first business venture, Arbusto Energy.