UN removes Saudi businessman from Al Qaeda listOctober 21, 2012
From the Associated Press:
UN removes suspected al-Qaeda financer from blacklist
Saudi businessman Yasin al-Qadi de-listed by sanctions monitoring committee, following recommendation by ombudsman
October 6, 2012
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The UN Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against al-Qaeda removed a Saudi businessman from its blacklist Friday.
The committee chairman, Germany’s UN Ambassador Peter Wittig, said that Yasin al-Qadi had been de-listed, following a recommendation by the blacklist’s ombudsman to remove him.
Al-Qadi filed a lawsuit in 2009 in Washington, DC to be removed from a US list of people accused of financing al-Qaeda.
Al-Qadi’s charitable Muwafaq foundation was identified by the US Treasury department as an al-Qaeda front and placed on a terror list in October 2001. Al-Qadi, 57, has denied the accusations and has said that the foundation was closed even before the hijackings.
The US, European Union, Switzerland and Turkey all took action against al-Qadi. Over the past several years, a team of lawyers has worked successfully to overturn the decisions against al-Qadi in Turkey and Europe.
In 2009, the Security Council established an independent ombudsman to deal with requests to get off the UN blacklist.
Last year, the council strengthened the role of the ombudsman, presently Canadian lawyer Kimberly Prost. If the ombudsman recommends delisting, the person or entity will be taken off the sanctions list in 60 days unless the sanctions committee agrees by consensus to maintain sanctions.
No clear reasons are provided for this de-listing—just a statement that the removal was based on the recommendation of an independent ombudsman.
The ombudsman’s recommendation is especially jarring because, just three years ago, the U.N. defended its listing of Yasin al-Qadi for the following reasons:
- “Al-Qadi’s acknowledgement of his role as founding trustee and director of the actions of the Muwafaq Foundation, a foundation which historically operated under the umbrella of the Makhtab al-Khidamat, an organization which was the predecessor of Al-Qaida and which was founded by Usama bin Ladin.
- “Al-Qadi’s decision in 1992 to hire Shafiq ben Mohamed ben Mohamed al-Ayadi as head the European offices of the Muwafaq Foundation.
- “The 1995 testimony of Talad Fuad Kassem, who said that the Muwafaq Foundation had provided logistical and financial support for a fighters’ battalion in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that the Muwafaq Foundation was involved in providing financial support for terrorist activities of the fighters, as well as arms trafficking from Albania to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- “Al-Qadi’s role as a major shareholder in the now closed Sarajevo-based Depositna Banka, where planning sessions for an attack against a United States facility in Saudi Arabia may have taken place.
- “Al-Qadi’s ownership of several firms in Albania which funneled money to extremists or employed extremists in positions where they controlled the firm’s funds.
- “Evidence that Bin Laden provided the working capital for up to five of al-Qadi’s companies in Albania.
“Based on these reasons, the U.N. Security Council resolved to continue listing Yasin al-Qadi as a suspected supporter of al-Qaeda terrorists…”
But no more. Yasin’s expensive lobbying effort to convince authorities to white-list him seems to have paid off. One supposes he is now free to travel around, do business with Europeans and Americans, and raise funds for whatever “charitable” foundation he decides to establish next.