Posts Tagged ‘Muwafaq Foundation’

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EU court further limits blacklisting authority

September 23, 2013

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) set a high bar this summer for justifying individual sanctions against terrorist financiers by tossing an appeal of the court’s earlier decision on sanctions against Yasin al-Qadi, the Saudi multimillionaire creator of the Muwafaq Foundation.

In 2008, the ECJ ruled that the authorities levying such sanctions had to provide a summary to the sanctioned individual of the information that led to the sanctions.  The European Commission complied by providing a summary to al-Qadi and his lawyers.

But ECJ and al-Qadi still weren’t satisfied.  An even higher standard has been promulgated:  the allegations in the summary must be “well founded.”  Surely, the litigants in the case which included the U.K., the European Commission, and the EU’s Council of Ministers, believed the evidence was well-founded enough to impose the sanctions, but not well-founded enough to meet the ever shifting standards of the ECJ.

The law firm of Brick Court Chambers notes that the judgment “is of considerable general significance in relation to the standard of review to be applied in sanctions cases, and the treatment of national security-sensitive material, in the European courts.”

Indeed.  The judgment essentially forces European governments to divulge sensitive intelligence to terrorists to explain why the terrorists are being sanctioned by those governments.

European Voice has a good article explaining the background and the ruling:

Top EU court clears Saudi terror suspect

By Toby Vogel  –  18.07.2013

European Court of Justice rules that the UK and the European Commission failed to provide evidence of Al-Qaeda links.

In a final judgment delivered today, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg has sided with Yassin Abdullah Kadi, a Saudi national who had fought his blacklisting by the United Nations and the European Union for over a decade.

Kadi was blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council in October 2001, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, over alleged links to al-Qaeda, with the European Union following suit days later. He launched a legal challenge against the freeze of his considerable assets in the EU. In 2008, the ECJ ruled that his rights had been violated because he had not been given the reasons for his blacklisting. The United Kingdom, the European Commission and the EU’s Council of Ministers appealed against that ruling.

Following the 2008 ruling, the Commission provided Kadi with a summary of the reasons for his blacklisting and re-imposed sanctions against him.

The ECJ has now dismissed the appeal by the UK, the Council and the Commission, ruling that “no information or evidence has been produced to substantiate the allegations, roundly refuted by Mr Kadi, of his being involved in activities linked to international terrorism”, according to a summary of the judgment.

The Court also found while the summary the Commission gave to Kadi of the reasons for the sanctions was sufficiently detailed and specific, there was insufficient evidence for his alleged terrorist links.

While the court procedure was underway, and following a decade of litigation in the EU, the US and Switzerland, the UN last year removed Kadi’s name from its sanctions list, following a recommendation from the UN’s ombudsman. Once again, the EU simply implemented the UN’s decision and removed Kadi from its own list as well.

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UN removes Saudi businessman from Al Qaeda list

October 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.