Jeremy Scahill reports that the reclusive Blackwater owner, Erik Prince, has travel plans on his horizon.
Sources close to Blackwater and its secretive owner Erik Prince claim that the embattled head of the world’s most infamous mercenary firm is planning to move to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Middle Eastern nation, a major hub for the US war industry, has no extradition treaty with the United States. In April, five of Prince’s top deputies were hit with a 15-count indictment by a federal Grand Jury on conspiracy, weapons and obstruction of justice charges. Among those indicted were Prince’s longtime number two man, former Blackwater president Gary Jackson, former vice presidents William Matthews and Ana Bundy, and Prince’s former legal counsel Andrew Howell.
The Blackwater/Erik Prince saga took yet another dramatic turn last week, when Prince abruptly announced that he was putting his company up for sale. While Prince has not personally been charged with any crimes, federal investigators and several Congressional committees clearly have his company and inner circle in their sights. The Nation learned of Prince’s alleged plans to move to the UAE from three separate sources. One Blackwater source told The Nation that Prince intends to sell his company quickly, saying the “sale is going to be a fast move within a couple of months.”
The report of a move to Dubai makes a lot of sense in context. Prince may be trying to liquidate major holdings so he can move his money offshore, too, in advance of possible claims by victims of Blackwater violence. I discuss the legal issues, including extradition, deeper into Scahill’s article.
The question is now pretty simple: what is the Justice Department going to do about all of this? If they really are preparing a case against him, they’re going to look like chumps if they let him skip the jurisdiction before they have a chance to act. On the other hand, there are no clear signs yet that Prince has been advised he is a target in any of the pending federal investigations, so he has as much right to pull up stakes and move to an overseas tax shelter as the next massively wealthy auto-parts heir.