Saddam's Money: The Hunt Heats Up

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Saddam Hussein stashed away huge sums in bank accounts around the world, kept under the names of factotums and front companies. Although $2 billion of Iraqi funds have been identified and $750 million recovered, U.S. officials believe several hundred million more remain to be found. To that end, sources tell TIME, the U.S. has pinpointed the names of several of Saddam's front companies, family members and former officials who it says are sitting on piles of Iraqi cash. The U.S. is considering publication of a list in the near future so cooperative countries can seize the loot.

Not all are cooperative, however. U.S. officials say Syria retains several hundred million dollars of Iraq's wealth in its banks. "They've just stopped responding to us on the issue," complains a U.S. official. Because the money kept by foreign governments has been difficult to recover, Washington is also going after former Iraqi officials who have purloined funds they once controlled. One was Saddam's ambassador to Moscow during the U.S. invasion. A senior U.S. government official tells TIME that the ambassador planned to make off with $4 million kept in embassy bank accounts. He allegedly withdrew the cash, used it to buy certificates of deposit in his wife's name and apparently hoped to fade away. But the U.S. government got wind of his scheme and asked Russian officials to freeze the suspect accounts. His alleged kitty will be sent to the Development Fund for Iraq, which is helping underwrite the country's reconstruction.