Swiss to Give U.S. Records of Iran-Contra Accounts
Hundreds of Swiss bank documents recording transactions by key participants in the Iran- contra scandal will be released soon to U.S. investigators, Swiss officials said today.
The documents will give the first clear account of the flow of money in the Reagan Administration’s secret operation which sold arms to Iran and diverted profits to contra rebels fighting the Nicaraguan government.
The papers cover about 20 American, Iranian, Swiss and Saudi Arabian individuals and companies associated with bank accounts at Credit Suisse in Geneva.
The documents will name the people who opened the accounts, who controlled them, who could sign and who needed a co-signer as well as where money came from and where it was sent, the officials said.
The Geneva judge assigned to gather the documents, Vladimir Stemberger, told Reuters that legal delays were exhausted and he expected to receive the documents this week.
After reviewing them, the judge will send the documents to the Justice Ministry’s Federal Police Office in Bern, where officials will check the papers and delete names of companies or individuals not named by U.S. investigators.
Among those named were Marine Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, fired from President Reagan’s National Security Council for his role in the scandal, and retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard V. Secord.
The accounts include a string of bogus companies set up by North, Secord and others, such as Lake Resources and Albon Values Corp., as well as various personal accounts.
The U.S. Justice Department asked the Swiss government last December to “freeze” numerous Geneva bank accounts used as the pivot point for channeling funds in the complex international affair and to hand over related records.
Names deleted will also include those of two men who have asked the Supreme Court in Lausanne to overrule the government decision to hand over the documents.
Legal sources identified them as Iranian businessmen Albert A. Hakim and Manucher Ghorbanifar. Hakim is a close business associate of Secord.
If the Supreme Court turns down their request, which could take three months to decide, then the Justice Ministry will revise the documents to include Hakim and Ghorbanifar.