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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Feb. 16) — The Palau government said Sheikh Yakub Al-Skeikh, who is wanted in the United States for wire fraud, money laundering, income tax evasion and false statement charges, is not in the country.

President Tommy Remengesau made this announcement after the U.S. government requested Ibrahim’s deportation and extradition.

Remengesau said the U.S. government must have thought that Ibrahim was part of a delegation that visited Palau, claiming to represent the "United Kingdom of Atlantis." The delegation said Ibrahim is the king of "Atlantis."

"Ibrahim was never in Palau," Remengesau said.

According to a statement from Remengesau, Ibrahim was charged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Ibrahim is believed to have multiple passports and aliases.

Remengesau said the "kingdom" recently offered Palau a $100 million loan at a low interest rate.

The delegation claimed that their kingdom is located northwest of Australia, east of Papau New Guinea, southwest of the Solomons and west of Vanuatu.

Remengesau said he was told by the Taiwan and Philippine ambassadors that they have no treaties with the kingdom contrary to the delegation’s claim.

Further, Remengesau said, when the coordinates of the kingdom as claimed by the delegation were plugged into a computer software used by patrol boats, no land mass was shown.

He said the delegation’s offer of a $100 million soft loan is "too good to be true that it cannot be real."

In exchange for the loan, the delegation said money from Palau was needed up-front.

Remengesau said the delegation wanted Palau to sign several treaties, which would include the recognition of their kingdom.

February 16, 2004

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com



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