It sounded like something out of a movie.
A dishonest businessman representing a crime boss is enticed to invest in a scheme that provides incredible returns. When the short term results proved to be as good as promised, the businessman went to his boss and encouraged him to invest and realize unbelievable returns.
But then the investment firm went bust and disappeared without a trace and the businessman and the crime boss lost millions.
But it wasn’t the 1974 Best Picture Oscar-winning movie, The Sting.
It was real life in 2002.
The crime boss was actually terrorist chieftan, Yasser Arafat, who, despite having signed a peace treaty with Israel nearly ten years earlier, was taking millions of dollars paid by the European Union (EU) to finance a terror war against Israel and enrich himself as head of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The shady businessman was Mohammad Rashid, Arafat’s “financial adviser.”
As a result of this sting, Israel may have deprived Arafat of more than $100 million in ill-gotten gains that he used to finance a wave of terror that killed hundreds of Israelis.
And the investment firm was the first scheme of the Israel anti-terror task force, Harpoon, which sought to fight terror by separating terrorists from their fortunes.
In her new book Harpoon, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, founder of Shurat Hadin, described the history behind this audacious and innovative way to fight terror.
In a conference call hosted by The Israel Project Tuesday, Darshan-Leitner credited Meir Dagan, a former general, former counterterror chief and former head of the Mossad, with pioneering this “new frontier,” by realizing that “if you stopped the flow of the money, you can stop the flow of terrorism,” because money was the “oxygen” of terror.
Darshan-Leitner is uniquely qualified to write about Harpoon, because the tactics pioneered by Dagan, by following the terrorists’ money trail and using civil law as means of disrupting their operations, have been employed by Darshan-Leitner’s Shurat Hadin. In lawsuits brought against sponsors of terror, Shurat Hadin has put a lien on $600 million in terror assets and recovered more than $260 million for terror victims.
A complete recording of the conference call is embedded below.
[Photo: Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center / YouTube ]