Ex- Liberian President Taylor hid 400 million dollars: Wikileaks

February 12th, 2011 - 1:48 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama Monrovia, Feb 12 (ANI): Former Liberian President Charles Taylor might have hidden as much as 400 million dollars of his wealth from prosecutors, the whistle blowing website Wikileaks have revealed.

US officials were told that if Taylor is found guilty of war crimes, the international court in The Hague might only be able to recover a fraction of his wealth, The Telegraph reports.

On Friday, judges in The Hague adjourned indefinitely Tailor’s three-year-old trial of Taylor on charges of arming rebels who killed and maimed Sierra Leone citizens.

Instead of closing the trial, as scheduled, the Special Court for Sierra Leone had reportedly granted Taylor’s lawyers leave to appeal an earlier decision refusing the late filing of a defence document.

A leaked cable sent from US officials in the United Nations in October 2007 has revealed the concerns of Stephen Rapp, who was the Special Court for Sierra Leone prosecutor at time, about Taylor’s alleged missing wealth.

Rapp is now President Barack Obama’s Ambassador-at-Large on war crimes issues.

“On the issue of Taylor’s hidden funds, Rapp reported that victims often raise the subject of reparations from Taylor’s sizeable resources. He noted that the Court could recover about three million dollar, if Taylor’s funds could be located. Some reports place his hidden funds at 400 million dollars,” the paper quoted the leaked cable, as saying.

“The UN Office of Crime and Drugs as well as the World Bank are exploring ways to track the funds and both President Sirleaf of Liberia and Sierra Leone President Koroma are watching with interest.” Nigeria was trying to help to find some of the assets, the US officials added.

In a later cable sent in 2009, US diplomats in Liberia’s capital Monrovia suggested Taylor should be tried in the US if he was “acquitted in The Hague or given a light sentence”.

Sixty-two-year-old Taylor has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. (ANI)

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