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Monday, June 08, 2009

Aleged Real Life Arms Trafficking Story of Far West Ltd

The arms trafficking adventures of Far West Lt or Far West LLC, as they are now called
The following Story reads a bit like a Jason Bourne movie, perhaps too much like a movie to be true, but here it is:

I do know that Cyprus is the past and current shipment of may arms trafficking deals by many countries.

-Shimron Issachar

SARFRAZ Haider died when the quad bike he was riding hit a wall at relatively low speed in Cyprus in January, 2004.

The bizarre, but seemingly innocuous accident that took the life of the Australian businessman was treated almost perfunctorily by the local police.

But for Mr Haider's family it was the culmination of a bizarre plot -- worthy of a spy thriller -- in which nuclear missiles were allegedly stolen from the Russians and sold to Iran for $63 million.
Mr Haider's eldest son, Sam, has revealed the story of his father's shadowy life to the Sunday Herald Sun after spending four years and thousands of dollars trying to get to the truth. He plans to write a book on the saga.

He has pieced together details of his father's life, along with deals from company records and the accounts of his business associates.

And an investigation by this newspaper has confirmed the details of many of his claims.

"It is amazing to me, but my dad was an arms dealer who was turning over hundreds of millions of dollars," Sam said this week.

"He was close to some seriously dangerous people and he lived an incredible, jet-set life.
"But in the end, I believe, it caught up with him. The deals and the intrigue, that's what killed him."

Sarfraz Haider, an Australian citizen of Afghan-Iranian origin, lived in Canberra and Sydney for almost two decades before leaving his family and moving to London and then Cyprus in 2000.

He became one of the world's leading arms dealers who is said to have brokered deals worth more than $10 billion. His code name was "Dex".

[Here is the Story]
  • After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's nuclear arsenals in its satellite states were dismantled and sent home, or destroyed.

In the Ukraine, in 2001, some of this arsenal disappeared.

Up to 20 nuclear-capable Kh-55 missiles -- with a 3000km range -- and four 200-kiloton nuclear warheads were stolen by a shadowy group of former Russian and Ukrainian intelligence and military officers. What happened to these weapons is the subject of international debate and much speculation. But one version of events, supported by documents obtained from the Ukrainian parliament and the investigations of the Haider family, is that they ended up in Iran and China.

Letters written by Hryhoriy Omelchenko, a former intelligence colonel to Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko, give details of the arms deal.

  • The letters also confirm Mr Haider, 53, was suspected of being part of the arms trafficking gang that sold the missiles to Iran and China.
  • The group used a fake contract and end-user certificate with Russia's state-run arms dealer and with a company called Ukrspetseksport -- Ukraine's weapons exporting agency -- to conceal the sale of the weapons that were officially listed as destroyed, the letters reveal.

While wrangling with lawyers and local officials over his father's estate in Cyprus, Sam Haider was contacted by a man called Ruslan Saidov, who claimed to be a friend and business associate of Sarfraz.
"Saidov told me the whole story," said Sam, who runs a Sydney import-export business.
"He said the theft of the missiles was masterminded by the partners of an intelligence and military consultancy firm called Far West Ltd ( now Far West LLC ).

"He said my father had been killed because the people at Far West and their Iranian partners feared the Americans would get to him and make him tell them about the missiles.
"They feared that he knew too much information about their dealings, and knew more information than anybody else."

  • Far West's partners, all former Russian or Ukranian military or intelligence officers, had close contacts with military figures and mafia groups within Russia and its former satellites.
  • They spirited the missiles out of the Ukraine and shipped them to Cyprus under the auspices of a company called SH Heritage Holdings -- whose owner and sole director was Sarfraz Haider.
  • The missiles were crated up and marked as "turbine parts" intended for Iran's oil industry.
  • Six of the missiles and two warheads were then allegedly shipped to Iran with the acquiescence of the Iranian secret service.
  • Six more missiles and another two warheads were shipped to China.
  • The deals were said to be worth more than $126 million.
  • Mr Saidov revealed himself to Sam Haider as one of the partners in Far West.

Another partner, Oleg Orlov, was arrested in the Czech Republic in 2005 over the missile theft.

  • He was extradited to the Ukraine, but died in jail after his throat was slit.
  • A third partner, Vladimir Filin, has disappeared.
  • Six men were eventually indicted over the missile sales and Ukrainian businessman Sergei Petrov, a former a partner in Far West, blew the whistle to German authorities on other illicit arms deals.

He alleged Far West had smuggled portable surface-to-air missiles to FARC guerrillas in Colombia in return for 600kg of cocaine,

He also accused Far West of supplying weapons -- including mortars, assault rifles and ammunition -- to ethic Albanians in the Macedonian conflict and Palestinians attacking Israeli targets.

Petrov was later blown up in his own car around the time Sarfraz Haider died.

Another member of the gang, Valery Malev, who was based in Kiev, died in mysterious circumstances in 2002.

Sam Haider claims the fortune his father amassed selling arms has largely disappeared.
He blames Mr Haider's business partners, and local lawyers and officials in Cyprus.

"The money has all gone and no one can tell us where it is," he said.
"When we went to Cyprus to find out what had happened we were met with brick walls."
Up to $12.6 million is missing from Mr Haider's accounts, and there are doubts about the fate of his properties in Cyprus, Sam claimed.

At the heart of the mystery is the role of Mr Haider's mistress and her family, who are allegedly linked to the Russian mafia. He said the chance discovery of a memory stick hidden inside his father's mattress was the first clue to the scale and seriousness of the arms deals.

"We couldn't believe it. We found this USB stick and on it were all these records of deals and financial transactions," Sam said.

The family never accepted the official "accidental" finding on Mr Haider's death, but an autopsy on his body, conducted by his brother, Dr Tedo Haider, from Batlow in NSW, heightened their suspicions.

Dr Haider claims his brother's neck had been broken, his aorta split and there were signs of a struggle.

"We want the truth to come out and we want justice," Sam said.

"This story needs to be told. There needs to be an accounting, and the world needs to know what is going on with these arms deals.

"We think there has been a cover- up. We think people have been paid off; my father's death and the events surrounding it need to be investigated properly."

Sam said he has been told his father had close connections to Iran's secret service, that he was the go-between for the Iranians in gaining nuclear secrets from the Pakistani atomic engineer A.Q. Khan, and that in 1986-87, he oversaw shipments of special military equipment and technical co-operation to Iran from Russia.

  • "The sale of the missiles, Far West's involvement in it and the links to the A.Q. Khan syndicate in Pakistan -- I believe that's what led to my father's murder," Sam said.
    At the time of his brother's death, Dr Haider asked the then Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Attorney General Philip Ruddock to intervene.
  • The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation has a file on the case and the Australian Federal Police and Interpol carried out an investigation in Cyprus.
    However, according to an AFP source the results were "inconclusive".

The Rest @ (Australia)

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