Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

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10 biggest terror finance news stories of 2015

January 4, 2016
  1. Funding of Paris attacks

The November 2015 attackers paid for $32,000 worth of pre-attack operations including hotel lodging and car rentals through anonymous prepaid cards purchased in Belgium. Payments were loaded in small increments; rules for prepaid cards allow for reloading up to $2,500 without identity verification. Although the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is responsible for the attacks and the training of several attackers, the precise source of the $32,000 is less clear. Money for travel appears to have become available after a stopover in Greece.

  1. Nuclear deal will release billions to Iran

The nuclear agreement that President Obama signed will release $100 billion to $150 billion of frozen assets to Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism. Hopefully the asset thaw will get gummed up in court while attorneys seek to collect the compensation that is owed to the victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism first.

  1. Wahhabi funding monarch takes power

Saudi Arabia has crowned a new king, Salman bin Abdulaziz, who started his career in public service by bankrolling the exportation of radical Wahhabism throughout the Islamic world. We will be contending with well-funded terrorist groups for as long as men such as Salman rule Arabia.

  1. Coalition bombs ISIS oil fields

According to news reports, the U.S. is increasing pressure against ISIS’s financial assets by bombing oil fields in their territory. If true, the bombing means that the Obama administration has begun to recognize that it is worth destroying oil infrastructure to deprive ISIS of funding even if it means it will be harder to rebuild the infrastructure when and if ISIS retreats.

  1. Son of terror victim sues wire transfer company

The son of a slain Somali politician and singing star is suing the money transfer company Dahabshiil for its alleged involvement in issuing a bounty for the singer’s murder. Saado Ali Warsame had sung a song denouncing Dahabshiil as a financier of terror and a profiteer from inter-tribal conflict.

  1. Jihadists in Yemen fund Charlie Hebdo assassins

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) gave $20,000 to future Charlie Hebdo attacker Said Kouachi before he and his brother left Yemen in August 2011. The foreign funding helps explain how a group of underemployed ex-cons were able to buy AK-47s for their January 2015 attacks and pay for Said Kouachi’s international travels.

  1. PA and PLO owe damages for terror attacks

A jury found the Palestinian Authority and the PLO liable for terrorist attacks with American victims in the early 2000s, with damages set at $656 million in Sokolow v. PLO. A federal judge set $10 million bond while the PA and PLO appeal.

  1. Taliban takes control of more turf

The Washington Post reports that the Taliban has taken control or maintains a significant presence in 30 percent of Afghanistan—the most territory it has occupied since 2001. The problem with this from a financial standpoint is that the Taliban lives off the land. One of their primary sources of income is taxation on commercial activity in the areas they control. More turf means more money.

  1. Arab Bank settles with terror victims

Arab Bank PLC provided client services to Hamas affiliates which funded terrorist attacks against Israel. After years of lawsuits, the settlement was reached between the bank and American victims of these terrorist attacks, possibly for $1 billion. Together with the Sokolow, these cases show that legal tactics can be used effectively to hit terrorists where it hurts: their wallets.

  1. Debt-financing of San Bernadino attack

Syed Rizwan Farook took out a $28,000 debt consolidation loan weeks before waging an assault against his victims. This method of financing attacks is particularly popular among jihadists living in Western countries where easy credit is, well, easy.

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U.S. publicly names Saudi Hamas bankroller

September 14, 2015

Saudi high rollers have been funding jihad for decades.  U.S. officials usually only talk about it in generalities.  But the Treasury Department has recently announced sanctions against several Saudis including Abu-Ubaydah al-Agha, a high-ranking money man for the terrorist group Hamas, and Mahir Salah, who launders money for Hamas through front companies in Saudi Arabia.

From Agence France-Presse on Sept. 11 (h/t El Grillo):

US sanctions aim at Saudi-Hamas finance link

New US Treasury sanctions Thursday took aim at financial links between Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which the US labels a terrorist group.

The Treasury named Hamas political bureau member Saleh Aruri; Saudi-based Hamas financier Mahir Salah; Abu-Ubaydah Khayri Hafiz Al-Agha, a Saudi citizen and “senior Hamas financial officer”; and al-Agha’s company Asyaf International Holding Group for sanctions.

It said Aruri has since 2013 “overseen the distribution of Hamas finances” and works closely with Salah.

Salah, a dual British and Jordanian citizen, has led the Hamas Finance Committee in Saudi Arabia, which the Treasury called “the largest center of Hamas’s financial activity.”

“As of late 2014, Salah managed several front companies in Saudi Arabia that conducted money laundering activities for Hamas,” it added.

Al-Agha and his company, meanwhile, are “involved in investment, funding, and money transfers for Hamas in Saudi Arabia”…

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Money and fundamentalism: suggested reading

August 6, 2015
  • The Department of Justice considers protecting the Palestinian Authority from a civil suit verdict for the victims of terrorism… more>>
  • Lobbyists peddle influence on behalf of an alleged Hamas-financing charity from Qatar… more>>
  • Senators propose to declassify the report on Saudi sponsorship of 9/11 hijackers… more>>
  • The rebels of the Free Syrian Army have used their Western funding and support to… kidnap Westerners… more>>
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Terror finance progress: suggested news reading

April 23, 2015
  • Judge denies Arab Bank’s request to throw out a verdict against it… more>>
  • The feds have busted 5 people and 4 companies for illegal shipments to Iranmore>>
  • The U.S. passes Saudi Arabia in oil production and is poised to become energy independent in 4 years… more>>
  • A Hamas treasurer has reportedly been arrested… more>>
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France mulls ban on Gulf funding of mosques

March 6, 2015

France is considering a prohibition against foreign funding of domestic mosques. This is a sensible proposal given that Saudi funds have been coming with Wahhabi or Salafi strings attached for decades, and Qatar has joined the fray.

But some French Muslims and Socialists oppose the measure, arguing that if mosques cannot be funded by foreign powers then the French government should subsidize the mosques.

How about a third alternative which would be for these mosques to fund themselves through donations from their own members?

From Radio France Internationale on Feb. 15 (h/t EuropeNews):

France to cut Qatar funding of mosques in crackdown on islamic fundamentalism

By RFI with Christina Okello

The French government has announced a series of measures to clamp down on radical Islam being spread in mosques, and wants to cut financial support from countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Critics warn that before it does, it first needs to revise its 1905 law separating Church and State which discriminates against Muslims.

“If foreign countries are stepping in to fund mosques, it’s because the French government won’t” Karim Bouamrane, a socialist candidate in next month’s local elections, told RFI on Saturday.

Bouamrane was reacting to plans by the French government to launch a cultural offensive against Salafist movements, held responsible for brainwashing the country’s young Muslims.

These movements are accused of spreading islamic fundamentalism in mosques, with the financial backing and complicity of countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“Muslims cannot run the risk of refusing cash from outside, because the French government won’t allocate them funds to build mosques” Bouamrane added, before concluding that the country’s 1905 law separating the Church and State needs to be updated.

The 1905 law, enshrining secularism as a national principle, bars the state from officially recognizing, funding or endorsing religious groups.

But it has come under increased scrutiny in connection with the integration of the Muslim community, many of whom arrived in France in the 1960s, after the 1905 law was passed.

However, Churches and synagogues for instance that were built before 1905, do receive funding and endorsement from the government, leading some Muslims to hit out at double standards.

“Yet the question to reform the law is difficult because France is a laic (secular) country,” Gérard Prudhomme, deputy mayor of Seine-Saint Denis, a rough suburb of Paris, told RFI, “many people against anything which can change this thing.”

However, there are growing calls for the state to fund Muslims’ religious worship in some way, in a bid to plug funding from foreign countries, without compromising its values of secularism…

(See prior Money Jihad coverage of a Gulf Arab funded mega-mosque in Marseille here.)

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Terror money news: suggested reading

March 5, 2015
  • France arrests 6 Chechens for raising funds and recruiting jihadists… more>>
  • Only military force, not conventional counter-terror finance techniques, can bankrupt ISIS… more>>
  • Saudi Arabia is building a neo-Maginot Line to defend against the same jihadist forces that they bankrolledmore>>
  • Hamas is doubling its stockpile of missiles and rockets for no reason in particular… more>>
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Terror finance clues: suggested news reading

February 5, 2015
  • The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria pays local guides to trick journalists into being kidnapped… more>>
  • Turkish intelligence has been caught smuggling guns across the Syrian border to Al Qaeda… more>>
  • Why ISIS needs Saudi money to take the business of terror to a higher level… more>>
  • Former Senator Bob Graham tells an audience, “Al-Qaeda was a creature of Saudi Arabia; the regional groups such as al-Shabaab have been largely creatures of Saudi Arabia; and now, ISIS is the latest creature!” More>>
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