Viewing cable 04WELLINGTON911
Title: CONVICTIONS IN NEW ZEALAND'S LARGEST PASSPORT

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04WELLINGTON9112004-11-01 02:43:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Wellington
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L WELLINGTON 000911 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EAP/ANP, DS/IP/EAP, DS/ICI/CR, DS/CR/PF, DS/IP/ITA 
AUCKLAND 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/31/2014 
TAGS: ASEC SENV TSPL NZ
SUBJECT: CONVICTIONS IN NEW ZEALAND'S LARGEST PASSPORT 
FRAUD CASE 
 
REF: WELLINGTON 605 
 
Classified By: POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC COUNSELOR KATHERINE B. HADDA, 
FOR REASONS 1.5 (B,D) 
 
 ¶1. (U) In what media reports have called the largest 
passport forgery case of its kind in New Zealand, two 
refugees to New Zealand, Iraqi Fahad Jaber AJEIL (age 29) and 
Kuwaiti Riyad Hamied SULTAN (age 29), were found guilty 
October 21 of conspiring to commit forgery.  The prosecution 
accused the men of producing hundreds of fraudulent passports 
and other falsified travel documents from 17 countries, 
including the United States, Liberia, Australia, Bolivia, 
Colombia, El Salvador and Yemen.  During the case, 
investigators claimed that 50 passports or travel documents 
had already been delivered.  In addition to conspiracy, Ajeil 
was also found guilty on 13 other counts, including 
possession of items capable of forging documents.  Ajeil and 
Sultan will be sentenced in December. 
 
¶2. (U) A third individual, Kuwaiti Dr. Salam ABU-SHAABAN was 
identified as the ring-leader of the forgery plot, and was 
named in the conspiracy charge in absentia.  Although the NZ 
Police have not spoken with Abu-Shaaban, he contacted NZ 
National Radio by telephone from Kuwait.  In the interview, 
Abu-Shaaban not only denied any involvement in a forgery 
ring, but also denied being Kuwaiti, claiming to be from 
Lebanon.  Evidence of his involvement was found by the NZ 
Police's Metro Special Investigation unit, after they were 
able to translate Arabic documents found on the computers of 
Ajeil and Sultan.  Evidence was given in the trial that 
Abu-Shaaban claimed to be the consul for six or seven 
nations, and issued passports for a number of countries, all 
claims that he denies. 
 
¶3. (SBU) During the case the defense counsel drew parallels 
between the Prime Minister's handling of this case and of a 
recent case involving two Israeli citizens deported for 
attempting to falsely procure a New Zealand passport 
(reftel).  The lawyer claimed that Prime Minister Helen Clark 
refused to pressure the Kuwaiti Government for information 
related to Abu-Shaaban due to the multi-million dollar trade 
in sheep with Kuwait, noting that by contrast NZ and Israel 
have minimal trade linkages.  Defense counsel also tried to 
paint the men as altruistic individuals trying to provide 
passports for stateless Bedouins living between Iraq and 
Kuwait, but the prosecution dismissed this claim of charity, 
citing the money taken for production of the passports. 
 
¶4. (C) NZ law enforcement indicated to Post that they were 
unable to find any ties to terrorist organizations or 
activities by Ajeil, Sultan and Abu-Shaaban.  It is likely 
that the men were involved in these activities solely for 
personal monetary gain. 
Swindells