LONDON (Jun. 6)
A new series of blackmailing letters were sent this week from London to the homes or offices of 12 distinguished businessmen and industrialists here, Jews and non-Jews, threatening them with dire consequences unless they send a check to the “Palestine Peoples’ Fighting Fund.” This is the second series of such letters. A number of the letters were sent May 26.
Scotland Yard is conducting an intensive investigation. It refuses to reveal the names of the addressees but it has become known here that one of them is the manager of the Dunlop Tire Co. and another a former chairman of the Truman Brewery who died four years ago. The black-mailers ask for checks to be sent to a numbered Swiss bank account.
The common link for the letters, nine of which are in special Scotland Yard branch hands, was that all the companies except Truman’s have interests in the Middle East or deal with Israel. Truman’s said that it was purely a Southeast England concern and was mystified as to why it should have been singled out.
Chief Superintendent Roy Habersham, head of Scotland Yard’s bomb squad, is leading the investigation. Special branch officers were brought in to try to track down the source of the letters, but the inquiries are said to be progressing slowly. It is understood that the Swiss bank has denied having an account with the number mentioned in the letters.
PLO DENIES ASSOCIATION WITH FUND
Arab sources here said that they had never heard of an organization called the “Palestine Peoples’ Fighting Fund.” In the letters, the Fund claims to have branches in London, New York and Paris. All the letters so far received were posted in the Shepherds Bush, Hampstead or Hammer smith areas of London.
The letters, neatly typed in good English on ordinary sheets of white writing paper, bore the printed heading. “Palestine Peoples’ Fighting Fund,” but no address. In place of a signature, the letter carried an Arab country postage stamp with the words, “We Can Remember When Palestine Was on the Map. Can You?” scrawled across it.
Said Hamami, London representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization, denied here any connection between his organization and the Fund. “The Palestine Liberation Organization would like to state that this alleged organization has nothing to do with it,” said Hamami’s statement. “We condemn such blackmailing methods, which would only serve the purposes of the Palestinian peoples’ enemies, who have been trying for a long time to mar the Palestinian liberation movement.”
The Palestinian spokesman added that special branch officers believed the Fund might be a “criminal ring.” Hamami also claimed that it could have been an attempt by Israeli intelligence to discredit his organization.