Ukraine's ABSCAM or how US technologies helped Anti-Corruption Bureau

Author : Mykyta Sinitsyn

Source : 112 Ukraine

Resonant investigation of tрe "amber mafia" case became a sensation in Ukraine
23:14, 11 July 2017

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The Daily Beast

Resonant investigation of the case of the "amber mafia" became a sensation in Ukraine. The scandal involved Ukraine’s MPs Maksym Polyakov and Boryslav Rosenblat, fake representatives of the company from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), ready to pay for the services of politicians to create a regime of "greatest" favor in the field of amber mining.

Mysterious investors from UAE, the richest Arab sheikhs, their firm Fujairah, ready to invest in the extraction of Ukrainian amber, and bribing Ukrainian politicians and officials for millions of hryvnia, a representative of the firm, but in fact Special agent from Ukraine’s Anti-Corrution Bureaus (NABU) Kateryna Syvokon, participating of the US Bureau of Federal Investigations (FBI) - all these things stirs the consciousness of Ukrainians.

But alas, there is nothing new under the moon. Almost 40 years ago, US have suffered the same.

They had their own Fujairah firm, their corrupt officials, their amber instead of bait, and even their own special agent.

In 1978, Abdul Enterprises Ltd was registered in the United States, whose owners were incredibly wealthy Arab sheikhs from the United Arab Emirates Abdul Kambir Rahman and Yasir Habib. As expected, the sheikhs, who became rich thanks to the oil, not knowing where to put money, wanted to invest money in the American economy. But since they could not go to the US, all the affairs of the sheikhs on the spot were led by their representative, Melvin Weinberg, who was given the right to dispose of the company's bank account at the Chase Manhattan Bank at his own discretion.

In the role of permanent representative was a well-known and dexterous swindler, who received a term for financial fraud, but for the sake of liberation he was ready to play a role in the secret operation of the FBI.

The operation was codenamed ABSCAM, which stands for Abdullah's "Scam".

Initially, the purpose of the operation was to investigate crimes of theft and antiquarian smuggling, but Weinberg's successful acquaintance re-qualified the operation to investigate political corruption.

A successful acquaintance for Weinberg was the mayor of the city of Camden in New Jersey, Angelo Erriqueti, who agreed to help the sheiks to invest in casinos of Atlantic City (New Jersey).

Gambling became the "amber", which was soon caught by government officials and US politicians. Subsequently, the sheikh's appetites grew, and they began to look for an opportunity to enter the titanium mining and production market. All of them were offered one thing - a monetary reward in exchange for political and other assistance of the Arab sheiks, casinos, which will be opened in New Jersey, titanium mining and production plant.

The meetings took place in the houses of Washington, on a yacht in the state of Florida and hotel rooms in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Dozens of officials and politicians became interlocutors of Melvin Weinberg. Not all of them agreed, but about 30 people fell for bait and declared their readiness to help the sheikhs.

Needless to say, all these meetings were carefully recorded in the photo, video and audio. For about 2 years, the game of cat and mouse continued, during which the FBI spent about 400 thousand dollars on bribes.


Finally, in 1980, the initiator of the ABSCAM operation, the FBI director, William Webster, decided that the collected evidence was enough, and at a press conference that he had called, he laid out compromising evidence on politicians. Seven members of the US parliament or the Congress came under the corruption.

The scandal was deafening, and there is no wonder - political corruption outrages the townsfolk and voters everywhere, whether it is the USA or Ukraine.

ABSCAM was recognized as one of the best FBI operations and entered the US textbooks on operational work. However, at the same time, the duality of the situation with the provocation of bribes and the use of tried provocateurs like Melvin Weinberg prompted the development of a special legislative and methodological base for such secret FBI operations.

It remains to wait, whether our Ukrainian ABSCAM will end with the condemnation of the persons involved in it.

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