Top Aide to Palestinian President Caught With Smuggled Phones

A close adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was arrested on Tuesday after customs officers found 3,000 smuggled cell phones in a car he was riding in, according to reports.

Rauhi Fattouh, former speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, denied involvement, telling the Jerusalem Post that it was his driver who was trying to smuggle the phones.

“My driver has acted in an immoral and irresponsible manner," Fattouh told the Post. "He has exploited his position as driver of a senior official to smuggle the phones. He also used an official vehicle in violation of regulations."

Fattouh and the driver were briefly detained for questioning after officers found the phones as the two were crossing the Allenby Bridge on their way back from Jordan, the Post reported.

A Palestinian Authority security official in Ramallah told the Post that the driver admitted to being behind the smuggling attempt, and said he had a Jordanian accomplice.

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