Ziyad Abduljawad¬Ziyad Abduljawad , whose father, Sallahuddin, is on a list of early al-Qaeda financiers known as the "Golden Chain," today runs a company with a stake in a defense contractor doing hundreds of millions of dollars in business with the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security. In 2004, Abduljawad bankrolled a controversial trip to Saudi Arabia for former Rep. Duke Cunningham, the Congressman now serving an 8-year prison sentence for accepting bribes from other defense contractors.
The San Diego Reader reported that Abduljawad controls shares in a company called Ellumina, LLC, which in turn has a stake in SYS Technologies, a high-tech communications and IT systems contractor to the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security for over $100 million, annually.
Abduljawad and his brother Mohammed also own a large real estate development business in Cunningham's San Diego, CA, district. He gave $2,000 (the maximum allowed for an individual by law) to Cunningham’s re-election campaign in 2004 and also donated $1,000 to the Republican National Committee, according to records from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Later that year, Abduljawad paid for a Republican junket to Saudi Arabia. Rep. Cunningham, San Diego Congressman Ken Calvert, and Thomas Kontogiannis, a New York businessman twice convicted of bribery, flew to Saudi Arabia, stayed in private homes where their meals were included, and met with Saudi officials, all on Abduljawad’s dime. Cunningham did not file the required disclosure forms about the trip, but Calvert did, and he estimated his cost of the trip at more than $10,000.
Cunningham portrayed the trip as a diplomatic mission, but that would not explain the reason for bringing Kontogiannis, the real estate developer and owner of a European oil company, who had been convicted two years earlier of bribery and fraud in his position as superintendent of a Queens, NY, school district. Calvert said Kontogiannis joined him and Cunningham in some of the meetings with Saudi officials, and he later told reporters that, had he known about Kontogiannis’ criminal past, he “wouldn't have felt very comfortable.” Prosecutors believe Kontogiannis paid more than $270,000 in bribes to Cunningham.
- GovExec.com on Ziyad Abduljawad, Cunningham and Kontogiannis: http://www.govexec.com/features/0206-01/0206-01na1.htm
- San Diego Union Trib on Abduljawad & Kontogiannis: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/20050924-9999-1n24konto.html
- San Diego Reader repots that Abduljawad controls the shares of Ellumina: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2005/jun/23/kingdom-sized-junkets/
- Abdulj awad’s campaign donations, courtesy Open Secrets: http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/search.asp?NumOfThou=0&txtName=abduljawad& txtState=%28all+states%29&txtZip=&txtEmploy=&txtCand=&txt2004=Y& Order=N
- Kontogiannis an enigmatic figure in Cunningham case; April 7, 2007: http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/04/08/news/top_stories/1_22_254_7_07.txt