The Global Network for Rights and Development, the strange but well-funded human rights organisation raided by Norwegian police on suspicion of money-laundering, issued a blustering press release in Arabic yesterday denouncing the police action as "unjustified and irresponsible" and threatening to sue Norway for $2 billion compensation.
In its statement, GNRD said "the volume of lying and defamation" directed against it was clear evidence of an organised campaign "run from a state known for its gross human rights violations" [presumably Qatar].
Elaborating on this conspiracy theory, and apparently referring to my blog posts, the press release said:
"What is being said about [GNRD's] sources of funding and its connections with any side is completely untrue and ... the source of the news is a journalist working according to the agenda of that known state and is being passed on by a network of journalists which that state established to attack rights organisations ... and improve its image.
"Regarding its president,[GNRD] confirmed that Dr Loai Deeb has been following up what happened with the Norwegian authorities and the legal team, and after that, accordance with his pre-arranged work programme, he travelled to take part in the African countries' economic summit in Sharm el-Sheikh then to Dubai to follow up the work of the network's office there, then returned in normal fashion to Norway."
Following his arrest in Stavanger, Deeb had travelled from Norway to the United Arab Emirates, raising doubts about whether he would return.
The statement continued:
"For his part, an official spokesman for the International Network for Rights and Development stressed that what the Norwegian police did was unjustified and irresponsible, and contrary to norms and international laws and what Norway says about it in international forums and United Nations platforms.
"He said the International Network for Rights and Development had begun urgent action to demand an official apology from the Norwegian authorities and [claim] compensation amounting to six billion Norwegian kroner – that is, approximately one billion dollars."
Six billion kroner is actually rather less than that – about $780 million – but the statement added that GNRD branches in other countries would also be suing Norway, making a total damages claim of "up to $2 billion".
Details of the money-laundering investigation are still scarce but Norwegian media have been publishing a few titbits.
The financial newspaper Dagens Næringsliv says the amount of money in the laundering case is around $13 million, most of which arrived in Norway since autumn last year.
Three Emirati companies connected with GNRD chief Loai Deeb – Deeb Consulting, Advanced Security Technology and Lana Interiors – are described as central to the investigation.
It is also alleged that large sums were received by Deeb personally, as well as GNRD. He is reported to have set up several new companies in Norway recently, some of which include other GNRD figures on their boards.
According to Stavanger Aftenblad, Deeb bought two properties in Norway last year for a total value of 12.3 million kroner ($1.6 million) and paid for them in full without taking out a mortgage.It has also been reported that Deeb's personal income, which had been around $25,000 a year until 2012, suddenly leapt to $600,000 in 2013.
Posted by Brian Whitaker
Wednesday, 17 June 2015