Home / America's Fight Against Terrorism
Fri, Nov 09, 2001 - Page 4 News List

World choking off terrorist money supplies

DRAGNET The US said it has blocked US$26 million in assets of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and an additional US$17 million has been blocked by other countries


The Bush administration cracked down on Osama bin Laden's multimillion-dollar financial networks at home and abroad, closing businesses in four states, detaining US suspects and urging allies to help choke off money supplies in 40 nations.

"By shutting these networks down, we disrupt the murderers' work," President George W. Bush said, announcing the first major dragnet of companies, organizations and people suspected of aiding terrorists from US soil.

Across Europe and from coast to coast in America, police conducted raids designed to unravel two Islamic financial networks accused of laundering and raising money and providing logistical support to bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization.

Investigators said they believe tens of millions of dollars a year flowed overseas through the al-Barakaat network of stores, groceries and money exchanges, much of it from funds that Somalis living in America send home to relatives. Some of that money was skimmed for use by al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks, investigators said.

Al-Barakaat group

The chairman of the al-Barakaat group, which operates in 40 nations including the US, vehemently denied the White House allegations.

"This is all lies," Ahmed Nur Ali Jim'ale said in a telephone interview from Dubai. "We are people who are hard working and have nothing to do with terrorists."

The second network, al Taqua, is a loosely organized band of companies in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the Bahamas and Italy, the White House said. It is controlled by Youssef Nada, a naturalized Italian citizen, whose assets the US wants frozen in overseas banks.

In all, the names of 62 entities and people were added to a list of suspected terrorist associates targeted by Bush in an executive order signed last month. The earlier list included 88 groups or people whose assets had been frozen because of their ties to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

In coordinated raids Wednesday, Customs agents seized evidence and shut down al-Barakaat companies in four cities: Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle and Columbus, Ohio. The Treasury Department froze assets of nine organizations and two people in the US, most with links to al-Barakaat.

Terrorist transactions

In addition, FBI agents raided two businesses seeking evidence of terrorist transactions. The companies cater to the Somali community in northern Virginia, not far from the Treasury Department office where Bush announced the crackdown.

In Boston, Mohamed Hussein and Liban Hussein were charged with running an illegal money-transmitting business, according to a criminal complaint. Officials said Mohamed Hussein was in custody.

The two men ran Barakaat North America Inc in Massachusetts, a foreign money exchange, without a state license, according to a US Customs Service affidavit. The business moved over US$2 million through a US bank from January through September, the government said.

Sam Osagiede, a lawyer who represented Mohamed Hussein when he applied for the license, said the two men had no connection with a terrorist network. "They are not involved with that," he said. The lawyer said Liban Hussein is out of the country.

A man was briefly detained in Seattle after federal agents raided a Muslim grocery store containing a wire-transfer operation.

Five organizations and one person, Garad Jama, were targeted in Minnesota. Agents detained at least one man.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top