The entity that invested Yasser Arafat’s $1.3 million in the company that owns New York’s Bowlmor Lanes — the trendy Grenwich Village “Bar Mitzvah bowling alley” — was the SilverHaze Partners investment management firm. It appears that the funds invested by SilverHaze were Arafat’s personal funds, although the news stories are not entirely clear on this point.
See, for example, the Newsday story “Owner calls for full disclosure,” or the New York Post story “$plit from PLO.” The Newsday story quotes a statement released by SiverHaze yesterday:
We at SilverHaze Partners take seriously the right of the Palestinian people to invest their legitimately acquired funds. Mischaracterizing this process to exploit complex political sensitivities serves no one.
The Post article, on the other hand, states that SilverHaze “handles Arafat’s dough in the United States.”
If the funds were Arafat’s, the angle of interest would be Arafat’s kleptocracy. One would think that an enterprising journalist might want to dig into the ultimate source of the funds that went on Arafat’s behalf into the owner of a New York bowling alley. Israel Insider seems to focus on the pertinent kleptocratic angle in “Bowling for terror.” Gary Fitleberg writes:
While his people suffered from poverty, billions of humanitarian aid money destined for clothing, education, food, and shelter went towards terrorism, [Arafat’s] personal pocket, and…tenpins.
“This is a complete shock to us,” said Bowlmor founder Thomas Shannon. The entrepreneur said he had no idea he was pocketing money from Arafat when a holding company that handled some of the Palestinian boss’ financial affairs began buying up 2 percent of Bowlmor’s parent company in 2001.
Shannon said he became aware of the connection only after Bloomberg Markets magazine revealed it yesterday in an expose on Arafat’s finances. Bowlmor does not want to have anything to do with the terror-linked leader…
Arafat became involved with Bowlmor through a complicated investment scheme designed to fund and support his terrorism as well as to pocket the proceeds to his own personal accounts.
As Jimi Hendrix sang in “Purple Haze”:
Purple haze all in my brain
Lately things just don