Baghdad, Iraq An Iraqi judge said Sunday he had issued warrants for the arrests of Ahmad Chalabi and his nephew, Salem Chalabi, accelerating the fall from grace of the once-favored family.
Ahmad Chalabi, a former close ally of the Bush administration who provided much of the now-discredited intelligence concerning Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, is wanted on suspicion of counterfeiting money, said Zuhair al-Maliky, Iraq's chief investigating judge.
Salem Chalabi, a lawyer who heads the tribunal investigating Saddam Hussein, is being sought in the June murder of Haithem Fadhil, director general of Iraq's Finance Ministry.
No charges have been filed against the two men, who are wanted for questioning so that the allegations can be evaluated. Both Chalabis are out of the country -- Ahmad in Tehran and Salem in London -- but police were given the warrants Saturday to serve on the men if they return, Maliky said.
Counterfeit money was found by police during a raid of Ahmad Chalabi's Baghdad residence in May, Maliky said. Ahmad Chalabi told CNN the charge was "outrageous" and said he intended to return to Baghdad to defend himself.
Salem Chalabi said the charge against him was based on a threat he was alleged to have made against the Finance Ministry official, who was investigating the seizure of Iraqi real estate by returning Iraqi exiles, including the Chalabis. Chalabi denied making the threat.
Moussawi linked the arrest warrant to the recent upsurge in fighting between the militia and U.S. forces.
"These charges have come when the whole country is in bloodshed," he said. "They're trying to put him out of the picture."