Lebanon Arrests Iraqi Financier Wanted for Funding Insurgency

Lebanese authorities have arrested an Iraqi financier wanted by his government for funding insurgents, a Lebanese security official said Wednesday.

Mudhhir Abdul-Karim Thiyab al-Kharbit was picked up at Beirut airport on Friday when he arrived to join his wife, who was planning to undergo an operation at a hospital in the Lebanese capital, said the official who is familiar with such security matters.

He said Lebanese police arrested al-Kharbit on a tip from Interpol. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

Iraqi state-run television also reported the arrest in Beirut, identifying al-Kharbit him as a major financier of insurgents in Iraq. It had no other details.

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Acting on information from the international police, al-Kharbit was identified on arrival and booked for questioning, the official said.

Al-Kharbeet, whose family is known to be wealthy and enjoyed special status under Saddam Hussein, is on the Iraqi government's list of 41 most-wanted people. He ranked 8th on the list, with a $50,000 bounty on his head.

The Iraqi government has said he was involved in United Nations "oil for food program" that managed the sanctions against the Saddam Hussein regime before its ouster in the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

The Iraqi accusations alleged al-Kharbeet funds the insurgents against Iraqi forces in his native region of al-Anbar in western Iraq, where the insurgency has strong presence. The allegations also said he funds Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Al-Kharbit is a wealthy Sunni Muslim family with businesses in major government construction projects under Saddam.

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