Menu JTA Search

American Businessman Fighting Extradition to Lebanon from Norway

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

An unidentified 40-year old businessman told a Norwegian court today that he is the victim of false charges fabricated by El Fatah. Norwegian authorities, acting on a formal extradition request from Lebanon, this weekend initiated proceedings against the man, a former American citizen now residing in Norway. The businessman has been sentenced in absentia by a Lebanese court for allegedly passing a false check for $69,000 in connection with a gold transaction. The check swindle is alleged to have occurred in 1971 while the man headed a boat rental firm based in Beirut.

The man told a magistrate behind closed doors in Bergen that he often passed information regarding Arab raids on Israel to the Israeli authorities. Arab intelligence eventually learned of his activities and he was forced to leave Lebanon to escape retaliation. El Fatah used a check book he left behind to fabricate the false charges, the businessman claimed.

INVOLVED IN CHERBOURG AFFAIR

The man also claimed to have helped arrange the secret removal in 1969 of five French gunboats from the French harbor of Cherbourg to Haifa. The Norwegian ship owner who arranged the gunboat sailing, Martin Siem, said yesterday that he did not recognize the businessman’s name. The Copenhagen newspaper, “Politiken,” yesterday speculated that the gunboat sail may have been arranged by the same pro-Israeli group allegedly behind the July 21 murder in Lillehammer of the Moroccan national, Ahmed Boushicki.

One of the six men arrested in connection with the slaying, Dan Ert, formerly owned a small freighter which plied the Mediterranean. This vessel was in the area when the gunboats slipped out of Cherbourg harbor, and may well have refueled the small military vessels enroute to Israel “Politiken” wrote.

It had been earlier established that the gunboats had to refuel several times between Cherbourg and Haifa. The vessels which arranged the refueling have never been officially identified. Records of the businessman’s court proceedings will be turned over to the Norwegian Ministry of Justice which will make the final decision on the extradition request.

NEXT STORY