Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas. (AP/Majdi Mohammed) (AP/Majdi Mohammed)
Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas’ sons are rich beyond belief and own luxurious properties around the world – thanks to their father. To most people, their ‘success’ stinks of corruption.

Abbas’ son, Tareq, owns villas in Amman, Jordan and a rooftop pad in Beirut, Lebanon, and his latetst purchase, according to a review of official British Land Registry records from 2012, was a $1.5m luxury two-bedroom flat in Merchant Square East, one of London’s many high-end developments.

According to a report by the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera, Tareq’s newest address is a “prestigious waterside building” in a “chic, contemporary style with high-specification amenities and furnishings” within walking distance of an area full of “traditional old English pubs and new bars and restaurants”.

Tareq’s flat has stayed largely unoccupied since he bought it, which seems to indicate that he does not need the rental income he could derive from its purchase. A quick calculation shows he could fetch about $4,300 per month in rent.

It was apparently neglected to such an extent that lawyers representing Merchant Square threatened to sue him in 2014 for “breach of obligations” for more than $6,700 in unpaid parking and storage fees, which he later paid.

Tareq failed to respond to Al-Jazeera’s questions about his finances or how he came to own the place.

No doubt he is aware that most Palestinians, with an average yearly gross national income of $3,060, couldn’t afford to rent the London apartment of their leader’s son for even a single month, Al-Jazeera pointed out.

Tareq is not the only multimillionaire son of PA head Abbas. His eldest living son, Yasser, made his fortunes from, among other things, the monopoly sale of US-made cigarettes in the PA.

The brothers Abbas enjoy a personal wealth that eludes nearly all their compatriots. Average Palestinians could hardly be faulted for questioning whether Father Abbas played a part in the obtaining of his wealth.

It was recently reported in Israel’s Ha’aretz that leaked records from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca showed Tareq Abbas as having at least $982,000 in shares of the Arab Palestinian Investment Company (APIC), a British Virgin Island incorporated firm where he serves as a board member.

The Panama Papers also revealed that the Palestinian Authority’s billion-dollar investment portfolio, the Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF), owns 18 percent of APIC.

Incidentally, Abbas, as head of the Palestinian Authority, wields significant influence over the PIF’s activities. Al-Jazeera  presumes his children would have us believe their dad leaves the room any time APIC or his children’s business pursuits are mentioned in the course of his official duties.

Little wonder that a May 2016 poll reported on by the Associated Press showed that almost all Palestinians – 95.5 percent – believe there is corruption in Abbas’ government.

The last time Abbas faced the voters was 10 years ago, and no future election is in the offing.

By: United with Israel Staff

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