"The litigation against Jordan is baseless and fraudulent," Jordanian MP Muhammad al-Kharabasha told Aljazeera.

 

"Chalabi is aware that Jordan has an open judicial system and its ruling is liable for appeal ... he should come forward and defend his case if he has witnesses or evidence to support it."

 

Chalabi, a former exile once touted by US defence officials as a possible leader of Iraq after Saddam Hussein's fall, made headlines in Iraq recently after a US-appointed Iraqi judge issued a warrant for his arrest on counterfeiting charges.

 

He was convicted in Jordan in 1992 of stealing funds from the family's Petra Bank business, which then had a subsidiary branch in the US.

 

The 53-page lawsuit filed in US District Court in Washington claimed that beginning in 1989 the Jordanian government tried to ruin the family's Petra Bank business in order to deter Chalabi from speaking out against Jordan's illegal weapons dealings with Iraq.

 

Jordan persistence

 

On 11 July, Chalabi's daughter alleged that her father's defence team had not been able to access documents that she claimed would exonerate her father.

 

It also charged the Central Bank of Jordan and the kingdom of Jordan with obstruction of justice, fraud and for orchestrating a plot to have Chalabi kidnapped and killed by Saddam's intelligence agency.

 

"We intend to show that Saddam and the government of Jordan were so afraid that we would succeed that they pounced on the bank, ruined it, and then falsely blamed my father by claiming he had stolen millions of dollars from it," Tamara Chalabi said in a news conference.

 

But al-Kharabasha calls such accusations flights of fantasy.

 

"I have heard his daughter saying there were documents and evidence in support of her father's case but were not accessible before toppling Saddam's regime.

 

"But what is the relationship between Saddam and Chalabi's case? When Chalabi fled away from Jordan, he did not go to Iraq. He fled directly to the US and other European countries," he told Aljazeera.