Saddam Hussein was prepared to take $1BN and to go into exile before the Iraq war, thus preventing the invasion of Iraq and the fiasco that we see the US embroiled in today.
This story is apparently being propagated by none other than President George Bush, who allegedly told José Maria Aznar, the then prime minister of Spain, about it a month before the 2003 invasion.
During a meeting at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, on 22 February 2003, Bush told Mr Aznar that Saddam could also be assassinated, according to a transcript of their talks published yesterday in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.
Bush is quoted as saying:
"The Egyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein. It seems he's indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he's allowed to take $1 billion [£500 million] and all the information he wants about weapons of mass destruction."
Asked by Mr Aznar whether the Iraqi dictator could really leave, Bush replied:
"Yes, that possibility exists. Or he might even be assassinated."
Bush talked about pressuring countries that were members of the United Nations Security Council to support a resolution authorising force. Whatever happened, "we'll be in Baghdad by the end of March".