Friday, October 01, 2004 - Iraqi Judge Drops Case Against Chalabi - Iraqi Judge Drops Case Against Chalabi: "Iraqi Judge Drops Case Against Chalabi

uploaded 29 Sep 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 27 — A senior Iraqi judge said today that he had closed a case brought against Ahmad Chalabi, the former exile once backed by the Pentagon, who had been suspected of involvement in a counterfeiting operation.

The judge, Zuhair al-Maliky, said in a telephone interview that he took the action about a week-and-a-half ago because he had decided "the evidence was not enough to bring the case to trial." If more evidence emerges, he said, the case will be reopened.

The decision also followed conversations between Mr. Chalabi's lawyers and representatives of the Central Bank of Iraq, Judge Maliky said.

The move appears to signify a minor victory by Mr. Chalabi over the interim government led by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a longtime rival of Mr. Chalabi's. The government said in August that it was charging Mr. Chalabi with counterfeiting Iraqi currency. That came at a time when Mr. Chalabi was on vacation at a summer home in Iran, and it appeared to many that the levying of the charge was a move by Mr. Allawi to dissuade Mr. Chalabi from re-entering the country.

But Mr. Chalabi did return to Iraq and proceeded to lambaste the government, holding meetings with reporters in which he proclaimed his innocence and vowed to return to political life."


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