PARIS, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Paris prosecutors are investigating millions of dollars quietly deposited into French accounts of the wife of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The investigation, first reported Wednesday by the French investigative weekly, Le Canard Enchainee, targets roughly $$@$!11.5 million deposited between July 2002 and July 2003 into accounts of Suha Arafat, who lives in Paris, and is known for her spending sprees.
Prosecutors opened the inquiry in October, but the news came to light only recently, Le Canard reported. Tracfin, which looks into possible banking fraud, reportedly confirmed the inquriy.
The Bank of France first alerted French authorities in late September on deposits of nearly 1 million euros a month (roughly $$@$!1.27 million) into two Paris accounts belonging to Arafat, the newspaper reported. Roughly $$@$!2.5 million was then deposited into the accounts of Alberto Pinto, a decorating firm popular with the jet set.
Prosecutors are only looking into a year of deposits into Arafat's accounts, but money continues to be deposited, Le Canard reported.
The inquiry comes as a European anti-fraud team is apparently in the Palestinian territories investigating reports of possible embezzlement of part of nearly $$@$!450 million in annual European aid to the region, the newspaper said.
Arafat did not respond to the newspaper's written inquiry, it said. Leila Chahid, head of the Palestinian delegation in France, said she was not aware of the French inquiry.