Baker is a senior partner at the Houston-based law firm Baker Botts, which made some $30 million in fees from the deal that the Israeli businessman mediated.
Gouaz said the Iraqi regime owed some $1.65 billion to the Korean Hyundai Engineering firm for a series of construction projects on which it defaulted in the wake of the Gulf War. U.S. legal sanctions on Iraq did not apply to Israelis, hence Baker’s request that Gouaz mediate the deal. The Bank of Jordan was also involved in the transactions.
Gouaz came forward with the information early this week in response to the release of the Baker-Hamilton report in the U.S., which recommended that Israel withdraw from Judea, Samaria, parts of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
“As a citizen of Israel I cannot just sit by and watch the hypocrisy being spewed by Baker,” Gouaz said. “If Baker was still a private citizen I could keep his business dealings private, but now he is involved in diplomacy that sells out Israel. People need to understand he is acting out of economic considerations.”