Posts Tagged ‘Mamoun Darkazanli’

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10 companies that make money from terror ties

July 15, 2014

Longtime Money Jihad readers already know that sharia banks are conduits for funding jihadist groups, but may not be aware of some of the other corporations and businesses that are in financial cahoots with terrorists.

  1. Tajco Ltd.—A Lebanese-based company that uses supermarkets to launder South American drug money through grocery stores in Gambia back to Lebanon for dispersal to Hezbollah. According to former Treasury official Stuart Levey, Tajco and its subsidiaries constitute a “multinational network [that] generates millions of dollars in funding and secures strategic geographical strongholds for Hizballah.”
  2. Dahabshiil—A money services business (technically a remittance company, not a bank) that pays a $500K stipend twice a year to al-Shabaab. Somali journalists and musicians have alleged that the payments aren’t just for “protection,” (ie, the freedom to operate in Somalia without being bombed) but that Dahabshiil shares tribal links and policy goals with the terrorist group.
  3. Al-Aqsa TV—The U.S. describes the media outlet as “a television station in Gaza financed and controlled by Hamas.” Hamas raised the initial capital to create Al-Aqsa TV, negotiated for a satellite provider, and allocates money for its budget. Its programming seeks to prepare children to join and fight for Hamas as they age.
  4. Crescent Foods—the “caterers of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Crescent Foods is routinely selected to provide food at conferences and functions held by a variety of North American Muslim Brotherhood front groups and affiliates including the radical American Muslims for Palestine and organizational co-conspirators of the Holy Land Foundation, a defunct Hamas front charity. Crescent Foods also markets halal foods to the constituencies of these Islamist groups.
  5. Sniper Africa—A South African hunting gear company which is majority owned by a dentist who raised $120,000 for Al Qaeda. OFAC has listed Sniper Africa under its specially designated global terrorist category.
  6. Zurmat Group—A company operating in Afghanistan that sells components that wind up in roadside bombs against our troops. Additionally, the Army Times found that “approximately $1-2 million per month — flow to [the Haqqani network] to finance its activities” from Zurmat Group profits. CENTCOM describes the company as actively supporting the insurgency.
  7. Darkazanli Export-Import Sonderposten—Owned and operated by Imam Mamoun Darkazanli, a longtime Al-Qaeda financier and manager. Darkazanli supports al Qaeda from Hamburg, Germany, and behaved as a type of godfather figure to the Muhammad Atta cell as it prepared for the 9/11 attacks. Darkazanli’s company has provided “cover, business collaboration and communications” for Al Qaeda figures visiting Germany.
  8. The Bank of China—The Chinese bank funded Hamas and Islamic Jihad when it “carried out dozens of wire transfers for the two terror organizations, totaling several million dollars,” from 2003 to 2007 according to a lawsuit by victims of terrorist attacks in Israel. The bank knowingly continued making such transfers even after being warned against it by the Israeli government in 2005.
  9. Jihad al-Bina—Hezbollah’s construction company in Lebanon. Its relationship with Hezbollah apparently transformed it from a $1.8 million business in the 1990s into a $450 million operation by 2006. It has been able to cash in on public contracts to rebuild Lebanese infrastructure through international development aid even though the firm is basically controlled by Hezbollah leaders and Iran.
  10. Al Manar/Lebanese Media Group—This Hezbollah news outlet serves as a “Beacon of Hatred” that runs advertisements encouraging donations to Hezbollah and airs commercials for Hezbollah. The television channel’s programming includes vitriolic anti-Semitic messages and glorification of suicide bombing operations.

In addition to the companies above, there are conventional Western corporations like Chiquita and Echo Bay that have have paid bribes or protection money to rebels or terrorists to prevent their employees and facilities from being attacked, and banks such as HSBC that have dropped the ball on anti-money laundering, sanctions compliance, and counter-terror finance programs. This is totally unacceptable behavior which ultimately helps finance terrorism and increases the odds that more corporations will be exploited by terrorists. At the same time, it should be recognized that these abysmal compliance programs resulted from a combination of mismanagement, lousy judgments, and long-term business motives, but not because of ideological alignment with the terrorists themselves.

A final note: there was an extremely popular article within the past year circulating the Internet about corporations making money off of the global war against terrorism (which itself was only the latest in a decade-long stream of Internet tirades and social media screeds against “war profiteering” in Afghanistan and Iraq). It should just be remembered that for every company allegedly making ungodly profits from providing basic security services that there are companies like those above that are actually funding or making money directly from terrorism. So when you run across articles like that, ask yourself a question: which seems worse to you—a greedy corporation that fights terrorism, or a greedy corporation that funds terrorism?

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UN, U.K. unfreeze Al Qaeda financier’s assets

March 31, 2013

In addition to removing Abdelghani Mzoudi from its Al Qaeda blacklist, the UN has lifted sanctions against Mamoun Darkazanli, a longtime terrorist bankroller and logistical manager.  The UK’s treasury department has followed suit.

Mr. Watchlist provides some of the technical details surrounding the removal here.

But who is Darkazanli, and why is this de-listing a problem?  For that, let’s turn back the dial to this 2010 article from The Telegraph via Free Republic:

Germany’s Imam Mamoun Darkazanli: Al-Qaeda’s Alleged Financier and Logistician

The Telegraph | 8/27/2010 | Derek Henry Flood

Posted on Saturday, August 28, 2010 3:52:03 AM by bruinbirdman

Police in Hamburg shut down the notorious al-Quds mosque, renamed the Taiba mosque in 2008, led by German-Syrian national and voluntary imam Mamoun Darkazanli. Darkazanli (a.k.a. Abu Ilyas al-Suri) has been a suspected al-Qaeda operative, primarily as a financier and logistician, in the European Union for close to two decades. Long active in al-Qaeda circles, Darkazanli first surfaced on the radar of Western intelligence agencies when he purportedly helped procure a cargo ship named “Jennifer” for Osama bin Laden as early as 1993 (Hamburger Abendblatt, October 16, 2004). Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt (BKA- Federal Criminal Police Office) admitted that it had been tracking Darkazanli since 1996 when it first suspected his al-Qaeda linkages (Der Spiegel, October 29, 2001).

Mamoun Darkazanli

Darkazanli was born on August 4, 1958 in Syria and is a dual German-Syrian national according to a Red notice issued by Interpol. [1] His birth city is unclear. German media report him as being born in Damascus while the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control cites his birthplace as the northern city of Aleppo. He is generally believed to be or have been a member of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (SMB), but that aspect of his life, like so many others, is also not clearly defined. Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Brotherhood organized itself in vehement opposition to the Alawite regime of the late Ba’athist strongman Hafez al-Assad. The common narrative of Darkazanli’s life path paints a picture of a Muslim Brotherhood member on the run from Ba’athist repression following an assassination attempt on President al-Assad on June 25, 1980. A major crackdown on Syria’s Islamists ensued and Mamoun Darkazanli fled to Europe. Conflicting with this well-worn narrative are two media reports. In an interview with a pan-Arab daily shortly after 9/11, his sister, Samiyah, told a reporter that although Darkazanli was a devout Muslim, he was never a member of the SMB and that he never returned to Damascus after leaving for the West because of his record as a known Syrian military draft dodger and his fear of retribution should he return to the country (Al-Hayat, October 4, 2001). The second citation contradicting his alleged involvement in the SMB stems from an interview in the Spanish daily El Mundo with the SMB’s exiled London-based leader, Ali Sadreddine Bayanouni, who outright denied Darkazanli has ever held membership in his movement.

Darkazanli and Said Bahaji

Darkazanli’s mosque operated on the Steindamm in Hamburg’s workaday Sankt Georg (Saint George) neighborhood alongside sex shops and liquor stores and near the city’s central railway terminal on the second floor of building 103. The mosque and Darkazanli provided support to the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell led by Mohammed Atta and had sustained Hamburg’s radicalizing Islamists until its closure in the early hours of Monday, August 9 (Der Spiegel, August 9).

Mamoun Darkazanli notoriously appeared in a wedding video filmed inside the al-Quds mosque for Said Bahaji, a key member of the Hamburg cell still at large. In October of 1999 Darkazanli and Bahaji celebrated his marriage to an 18-year old German woman of Turkish origin named Nese Kul alongside hijackers Marwan al-Shehi of the UAE and Lebanon’s Ziad Jarrah as well as 9/11 facilitator Ramzi bin al-Shibh of Yemen (Hannoversche Allgemeine, August 9). Bahaji, born to a Moroccan father and German mother in Lower Saxony, lived less than two kilometers from the core of the Hamburg cell in the borough of Harburg on the southern shore of the Elbe River. A reportedly close associate of Mamoun Darkazanli, Bahaji is currently believed to be along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border after his passport was recovered last year by Pakistani troops from the wreckage of a mud brick compound in the village of Sherawangi following a Pakistani army assault on a Taliban-held area in South Waziristan (Dawn, October 30, 2009; Die Welt, October 31, 2009).

Darkazanli, a 52 year-old resident of the Hamburg’s Uhlenhorst district, has yet to be convicted of any offense in the EU and described his links with hijackers Atta and al-Shehi as “coincidences” (Sueddeutsche Zeitung, January 9). He is listed in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 as of 2007 as either residing or having his business registered at Uhlenhorster Weg 34, just two kilometers north of the al-Quds mosque. Resolution 1267 was adopted in the fall of 1999 by the Security Council to sanction designated members and supporters of al-Qaeda and the Taliban with the UN’s dismay at the then unyielding civil war in northern Afghanistan.

On July 15, Darkazanli’s company, Darkazanli Export-Import Sonderposten, initially designated as an al-Qaeda entity on October 6, 2001, was delisted as such an entity by the Security Council, though he still appears on the consolidated sanctions list as an individual affiliated with al-Qaeda. [2] The UN does not provide a specific explanation as to why Darkazanli’s company was taken off the sanctions list. It may no longer be an active business thereby becoming irrelevant to the list after a recent review.

Kingdom of Spain v. Darkazanli

Darkazanli was wanted by the famed Spanish anti-terror judge Baltasar Garzón and spent time in German custody in 2004-2005 but was never extradited to Madrid. Read the rest of this entry ?