Treasury Department stays limp on Dahabshiil

November 3, 2013

UPDATE—FEB. 28, 2015:

In October 2012, Dahabshiil commenced defamation proceedings in The Netherlands against Dahir Alasow (a Somali asylum seeker living in The Netherlands) in respect of various articles written by Mr Alasow and published on his websites including Sunatimes, Waagacusub and ASOJ. These articles alleged that Dahabshiil was, inter alia, involved in the financing of terrorism and other serious crimes, allegations which were categorically denied by Dahabshiil.

On 16 December 2014, the ’s-Hertogenbosch Court of Appeal of The Netherlands, following an extensive examination of the evidence, ruled that the articles were untrue and defamatory of Dahabshiil. Mr Alasow was ordered to remove various articles containing the defamatory allegations from his websites, publish a notice of rectification and pay Dahabshiil’s legal costs. The court’s decision can be found here:

Financial crimes expert Kenneth Rijock is asking why the U.S. Treasury Department hasn’t levied sanctions against Dahabshiil, a Somali financial services company that funds the terrorist organization al-Shabaab.

It’s a very valid question considering the amount of evidence that Money Jihad has catalogued against Dahabshiil.  The answer is partly because this money services business (MSB) and other Somali remitters are being protected by an alliance of Somali leaders in Minneapolis, Democrat politicians in Minnesota, national nonprofits and Muslim advocacy groups.  They want to keep the remittance channels to Somalia open at any cost—even if it means that the money will be siphoned off by al-Shabaab to pay operatives and buy weapons.  They lobby Treasury behind the scenes to ensure the spigot stays open, and mistakenly claim that anybody opposed to the money transfers is Islamophobic, and that any bank that severs correspondent relationships with Dahabshiil is cutting off a “lifeline” to the people of Somalia.

Treasury is under orders to ease the skids for zakat and remittance transfers from the U.S. back to the Islamic world.  The larger financial and strategic risks are being ignored because of rigid ideologies and domestic political backscratching.

Rijock makes the case for a change:

Why Won’t OFAC Sanction the Somali MSB Dahabshiil?

Dahabshiil, the money service business headquartered in Somalia, has gone to court in the United Kingdom, seeking injunctive relief against Barclays, which is scheduled to exit their relationship, for both money laundering, as well as terrorist financing, grounds. Barclays has declared that it will delay closing Dahabshiil accounts, pending the imminent court ruling. What’s wrong with this picture ?

Dahabshiil has a long and checkered history of accommodating, and facilitating, the finances of Al-Shabaab, which is a designated terrorist organization. Al-Shabab has:

  1. Received what amounts to annual bribes, or tribute, from the MSB.
  2. Forwarded money, from other Middle Eastern countries, to Dahabshiil accounts in Somalia, which was then used to fund terrorist acts inside the country, including the targeted killing of Somali government officials.
  3. Extorted money, from Somali expats abroad, and sent it in to itself in Somalia, through Dhaabshiil accounts.

Dahabshiil has also been accused of using bribes and threats to shut down critical media comments on its operation.

Where is OFAC on all this ? Someone in a position of leadership at Treasury needs to take action to designate this MSB immediately, and not two years later, please. Al-Shabaab represents not just a clear and present danger to the Government of Somalia, it threatens Kenya and the entire East African region. Its conversion of expatriate Somalis could even pose a terrorist threat to the United States.

Barclays should have to be the only entity going up against this terrorist organization. The US & the UK need to strand up and be counted with sanctions.

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