MONZAR AL KASSAR
Nabek, Syria, 1945.
Arabic, English, Spanish.
Syrian, Argentine, Brazilian, Algerian and British; Spanish
IN KNOWN ARMS SALES WITH:
Argentina, Austria, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chad, Croatia,
Guatemala, Iran, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Panama, Poland, South Africa,
Sri Lanka, Syria, the United States and Yemen.
KNOWN OR SUSPECTED ACTIVITIES:
Large-scale trafficking in cocaine, hashish and stolen cars.
Widely investigated for arming various Palestinian terrorist
groups and involvement in terrorist attacks in the 1980s. Offered
French anti-ship cruise missile technology to Iran in 1997.
Was offered the opportunity to broker the sale of
$1.11 billion worth of submarines by the Argentine Defense Ministry.
Falsely accused of many things (such as the bombing of Pan Am
Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland) by conspiracy theorists
in books and on the Internet.
Has had dealings or involvement with Oliver North and Gen. Richard
Secord (Iran-Contra); the International Bank for Credit and
Commerce (BCCI); former Argentine President Carlos Menem; Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)
and its leader, Ahmad Jibril; Abu Abbas, leader of another PLO
extremist splinter group, the Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF),
who orchestrated the Achille Lauro hijacking; the Popular Front
for the Liberation of Palestine-Special Command (PFLP-SC) headed
by Georges Habash; the Democratic Front for the Liberation of
Palestine (DFLP) headed by Naif Hawatmeh; and Abu Nidal, leader
of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, a.k.a. Black September or
Arab Revolutionary Brigades.
Travels freely and lives comfortably in his hilltop mansion in
Marbella, Spain, on the Costa del Sol. Known to have huge real
estate and construction holdings; has gold mines and other interests
in Argentina. Says he has not sold weapons for 12 years.
First arrested in Yabroud, Syria, for stealing cars.
1972: Arrested in Copenhagen for trafficking in hashish.
1974: Sentenced to 18 months in prison for selling hashish
in the United Kingdom.
1977: According to a Swiss judicial investigation, his
criminal career began to develop quickly at this point, as he
established links with mafia groups, the PFLP-GC (extreme anti-Israel
PLO wing) and the PLO, which helped him traffic arms, drugs
and stolen cars, arm various terrorist movements, and get rich.
1984: Expelled from United Kingdom for drug and arms
1985: In France, sentenced to eight years in absentia for
operating a "criminal terrorist organization."
mid-80s: In Germany, fined $150,000 for possessing illegal
1992: Swiss bank accounts frozen at Spain's request.
Investigations begun for money laundering, lack of vigilance
in financial operations, false documents and false foreign certificates.
Arrested in Spain on charges of piracy and providing weapons
for the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship by PLF terrorists,
in which American Leon Klinghoffer was murdered.
1993: Released after serving nine months, on $15.5 million
1995: Acquitted of all charges in Achille Lauro case.
2000: Indicted in Argentina for obtaining documents
under false pretenses in the course of his 1992 acquisition
of an Argentine passport with the help of high-level Menem administration