Monday, September 15, 2008

Conspiracy Theories about Susan Tamim’s Death

On July 28th, Suzanne Tamim, a famous Lebanese singer, was found killed in her Jumeirah Beach Residence Apartment. In Dubai, the story became headline news due to many factors (her beauty, her celebrity status, murders being rare over here, and the fact that she was apparently in hiding over here from her estranged husband in Lebanon). As the days unfolded, the plot thickened with links to other parts of the world (Lebanon where her ex-husband and business manager lived, Egypt where she had first fled too from Lebanon, and the UK where there were claims that she married a British-Iraqi before coming to Dubai).

Well, the latest on the case after around 6 weeks expiring, was that an influential Egyptian businessman, Hashim Talaat Mustapha, was arrested for ordering the murder and paying an ex-cop, who was his head of security $2 million to kill her. This is an interesting plot which would be suited for a “cloak and dagger story.” The businessman was a member of parliament and they had to have his immunity from prosecution lifted before they commenced to arrest her. Just today, it has been reported that he offered Suzanne’s father over $20 million as blood money (although it is widely known that accidental death and not premeditated murder qualify for blood money in some Arab countries).

Over the weekend, during a Ramadan tent gathering, one of my friends started mentioning the following conspiracy theories about this murder. Upon investigation with another knowledgeable local friend of mine, it turned out that one theory is being circulated which I thought to share with you. Why is that? I never understood why a multi-billionaire would be so distressed over his mistress leaving him to order her killing instead of satisfying his sexual appetite with a dozen other trophy ladies. Maybe it is because I still have not experienced love, due to my rational and practical nature, but that is another subject.

So there are two conspiracy theories circulating around; with the foremost being a power play between the business community of Egypt and the business team of Dubai. The second one, being a weak theory in my opinion is a simple mafia-style revenge. Hisham Talaat was utilizing Suzanne to launder money and she stole it from him, so she had to be taught a lesson. However, the first theory is more interesting.

Apparently, Emaar wanted to invest in the Egyptian real estate development called Madinaty. Under lobbying by the business community in Egypt, Emaar needed to find an Egyptian partner to have a controlling stake, which they received. However, Hisham Talaat utilized his influence- being closely linked to the Egyptian ruling party especially Gamal Mubarak, the son of the Egyptian president- muscled in and became a partner with the Egyptian partner. Hisham then broke up the partnership and claimed compensation for his share in the dissolved company although he had not invested a single dollar. It was sorted out with Emaar paying some compensation to Hisham. Thus, he had hoodwinked Emaar and its chairman. Hisham had to be taught a lesson.

Hisham was apparently obsessed with Suzanne, having been her protector in Egypt from her ex-husband. He had paid over millions of dollars in her protection and for making unlawful activities by her family disappear. Thus, by getting back at him, it was via Suzanne who had come to Dubai under the protection of an influential person here. Hisham apparently took it up a notch by threatening the influential community here in their own back yard. That is why he had to be imprisoned.

Although I know that the conspiracy theory has some loose and weak strings, it is interesting nonetheless. After all, one of the main problems of the Arab world is that there are people with influence who are above the law. Just last week, a person married to the royal family of Morocco shot a police officer just because he asked him for his car papers. These stories do exist within the Arab world. So was it a clash of titans which led to the murder of Susan Tamim? Time might tell us and it might not with rumors circulating around.

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