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Chalabi Counterfeiting Charges Dropped

From Associated Press

A judge has dismissed counterfeiting charges against Iraqi National Congress party leader Ahmad Chalabi, a former Pentagon favorite once considered a front-runner to become Iraq’s leader, authorities said Friday.

The charges against Chalabi, a wealthy former Iraqi exile who has denied wrongdoing, were dismissed for lack of evidence, said Zuhair Maliky, Iraq’s chief investigative judge.

Maliky said the charges, dropped at a court session Thursday, could be refiled if more evidence was uncovered.

“I am sure they are not going to find any evidence against Chalabi, because there was no evidence from the beginning,” said Haidar Moussawi, an aide to Chalabi.

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Maliky issued an arrest warrant for Chalabi in August, accusing him of a complex counterfeiting scheme involving old Iraqi dinars that had been removed from circulation.

The case stems from counterfeit Iraqi cash found in Chalabi’s home during a raid by U.S. and Iraqi forces in May. Iraqi authorities declined to act on the warrant.

Chalabi was a longtime favorite of conservatives in the Bush administration.

After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, he was a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, which was replaced by the current interim government.


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