WASHINGTON — An Iranian-American businessman who helped arrange the Iranian arms deals was ordered by a federal judge Monday to testify before the Senate panel investigating the Iran- contra affair.
Albert A. Hakim, 50, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Aubrey E. Robinson Jr. to testify under a grant of limited immunity from prosecution.
The order takes effect April 10.
20-Day Delay Granted
Robinson granted a 20-day delay at the request of Lawrence E. Walsh, the independent counsel investigating the affair.
The limited grant of "use immunity" for Hakim prohibits Walsh or any other prosecutor from using Hakim's congressional testimony as evidence to prosecute him. If Walsh sought to prosecute Hakim, he would have to prove that his evidence was obtained independently from such testimony.
The delay gives Walsh an opportunity to submit to the court evidence of any case against Hakim. Such evidence would be sealed by the court as proof that it had been obtained before the congressional testimony.
The Tower Commission report on the Iran-contra affair identifies Hakim, an associate of retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard V. Secord, as opening a "second channel" with Iran after Reagan Administration officials doubted the reliability of an earlier go-between.
Quicker Bank Access
Congressional sources have suggested that forcing Hakim's testimony will provide investigators with faster access to Swiss bank accounts apparently used as part of the arms deals.
The Senate last week voted to cite Secord for contempt for his refusal to give permission for Swiss bankers to grant investigators access to accounts he controls.
In an interview last week, Walsh said delays in obtaining records from Swiss banks could prolong his investigation.
Additionally, Stephen Ross, counsel for the House, filed a sealed document with the court after a meeting in the judge's chambers that was also attended by a member of Walsh's staff.