Treasury says Bari serves as “Taliban’s bank”May 23, 2012
Abdul Baqi Bari is six or seven years older than Taliban leader Mullah Omar and a year or two younger than current Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. He’s a native Afghan, and he’s laundered money for the Taliban at least as early as 2001.
According to the Treasury Department’s press release accompanying the recent designation of Bari as a terrorist, “Bari kept the [Taliban’s] money in bank accounts outside of Afghanistan” after the initial invasion of Afghanistan out of concern that the new government would freeze his bank accounts. Bari closed a European bank account for the same reason, and had several bank accounts frozen in Pakistan.
The Treasury Department does not name which other countries Bari banks with, but I suspect that he holds accounts in the United Arab Emirates.
It’s also noteworthy that Bari has conducted a major hawala transaction for the Taliban. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has falsely claimed that the 9/11 Commission “exonerated” hawala from being used by terrorists. The 9/11 Commission never “exonerated” hawala, and the designation of Bari provides further evidence that jihadists use hawala—an Islamic system devised by Muhammad and laid out in the Hadith to facilitate transfers of debt via third parties.
Here’s the section about Bari from Treasury’s press release on May 17:
Abdul Baqi Bari has served as a Taliban money launderer and financial manager since at least 2001. He has used Pakistani banks to secure money given to him by Taliban sources and in 2002 gave an individual $2.6 million in Taliban money to deposit in separate bank accounts.
Bari has also used a company to funnel funds to support Taliban and al-Qa’ida activity in Afghanistan. In 2002, al-Qa’ida senior leader Usama Bin Laden provided Bari and an associate $500,000 to purchase a factory for the company, and Taliban personnel subsequently established satellite offices throughout Afghanistan.
The same month, Afghanistan’s Pajhwok news service reported that, in the twilight of the Taliban government, Mullah Omar had ordered the payment of $168 million from Afghanistan’s national bank to a number of individuals, among whom Bari was at the top of the list, according to the chief of Interpol in Afghanistan. Recipients of the money allegedly launched businesses inside and outside Afghanistan and were funding “terrorists” in the region. Pakistani authorities froze more than $5 million in funds belonging to two of Bari’s companies.
Mullah Omar directed Bari in 2001 to allocate money from his businesses to pay al-Qa’ida and Taliban supporters. Bari used money exchange businesses in Pakistan to funnel financial support to the Taliban and al-Qa’ida and, in one instance, conducted a $400,000 hawala transfer for Mullah Omar. During the Taliban regime, the Taliban transferred $2.8 million from an account in Europe to Bari for fear that their accounts would be frozen. The Taliban would get money from Bari as they needed it, essentially using him as the Taliban’s bank. Bari kept the money in bank accounts outside of Afghanistan so that the accounts would not be frozen by the new Afghan Government. Bari has also served as an intermediary in procuring weapons for the Taliban.
In addition to the reasons for which he is being designated, in March 2006, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported that Bari was wanted by Interpol in Kabul in connection to cases regarding funding the Taliban and that Pakistan had frozen 31 bank accounts belonging to Bari, his brother, and their sons on charges of funneling money to the Taliban. Additionally, according to Pakistani media reporting in January 2006, Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency Special Investigation Group (SIG) froze 15 bank accounts of two companies owned by Bari and his family members at Interpol’s request. Taliban leader Mullah Omar reportedly had a share in both companies. SIG seized documents indicating one of the companies’ involvement in transferring money to the Taliban, and Interpol said the companies were established during Taliban rule.