Iraqi politician Chalabi’s Family Suspect Foul Play in His Death

The family of Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi, who passed away Tuesday of a reported heart attack, has expressed doubts about the cause of his death. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

By Suadad al-Salhy

Tuesday’s death of Iraq’s most controversial politician, Ahmed Abdulhadi Al Chalabi, has raised concerns among his family who await the results of an autopsy as they believe he may have been murdered.

A family member who declined to be identified told Newsweek Middle East that the family “has big doubts” about his cause of death and believe he was killed as they saw “signs” on his body that have caused concerns.

Six “foreign experts … from the U.S., U.K. and Iran, have performed an autopsy on [Chalabi’s] body,” the family member said, adding that the team members specialized in forensic toxicology.

“The result of the autopsy will be out in a week’s time,” Ali Al-Chalabi, the deceased politician’s son, told Newsweek Middle East in a telephone interview early Friday.

Though he confirmed that foreign experts were flown into the country to perform the autopsy, he refused to speculate further on the death of his father, who is best known as the architect of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Chalabi, 71, was found dead at his farm in northern Baghdad, Tuesday, and was buried Friday morning in the holy city of Kadhimiy, north of the capital. Iraqi officials and lawmakers said Chalabi died of a heart attack.

Chalabi, the founder of the Iraqi National Congress, is seen by most Iraqis as the man who  orchestrated the U.S. invasion of the country, which led to the toppling of its former dictator Saddam Hussien in 2003.

His sudden death triggered a storm of questions and speculation that he may have been murdered because of the high-profile cases that he was handling.

Chalabi was also the chairman of the Financial Parliamentary Committee, which monitors the government’s fiscal policies and mechanisms of exchange outlets, the annual budget among other related fiscal laws.

A number of Iraqi lawmakers said he was collecting information and investigating into issues of financial graft which affects many prominent Iraqi and foreign political and government figures.

A source close to Chalabi told Newsweek Middle East that the politician  was “investigating the activities of Iraq’s private banks,” and that he suspected these banks were involved in long-term money laundering operations that were funding terrorist groups operating in Iraq.

The source added that Chalabi was about to reveal the names of these banks, along with the prominent foreign and Iraqi officials and politicians who were involved in the operation.

Until autopsy results are announced next week, it is likely that speculation surrounding Chalabi’s death will dominate headlines.

Additional reporting by Leila Hatoum

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