In a two part series, the Financial Times investigates 'the murky financial dealings by Arafat over more than 25 years, to give him sole control of resources raised by the various organisations he led.'
The Fatah search is aimed at giving it the financial muscle to mount campaigns against the radical Islamist group Hamas in this year's elections, and is part of a broader pursuit by Palestinian organisations of the suspected fortune Arafat stashed away, the article said.
Fatah also re-issued a call for a mutual ceasefire with Israel in a bid to bolster the position of Mahmoud Abbas, the newly-elected Palestinian Authority president, at peace talks due in Egypt today
'The faction, which Mr Abbas also heads, said its militias would refrain from attacking Israeli civilians inside Israel and would be ready for "a mutual ceasefire" in Israeli-occupied territory,' said the Times.
Organisationscontrolled by Arafat "raised billions of dollars but much was spent or squandered in corruption and bad investments. Nonetheless, some officials in these organisations think assets worth several hundred million dollars may not be accounted for," it said.
"Arafat put Fatah under the PLO and then effectively merged the PLO into the Palestinian Authority. This emptied Fatah of its financial power," the article quoted an official close to Mr Abbas as saying.