The son of the assassinated politician and singing star Saado Ali Warsame is seeking justice by suing the remittance company Dahabshiil. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the lawsuit is for Dahabshiil “allegedly paying a bounty on her [Warsame’s] life.” Warsame had discouraged the Somali diaspora from using Dahabshiil to wire money home, because she believed the money services business promoted tribal factionalism and terrorism. Warsame was shot dead in Mogadishu in 2014.
Joshua Arisohn of the law firm Bursor & Fisher is representing Warsame’s son, Harbi Hussein. Kudos to Hussein for the same courage and fight exhibited by his mother, and to Arisohn for taking on this crucial case. Credit should also go to the Star Tribune and journalist Abby Simons for reporting on this lawsuit.
Since some articles that are critical of Dahabshiil tend to disappear or get bumped down in Google search results, Money Jihad is reprinting most of the Dec. 11 article from the Star Tribune below:
Son of slain Somali political activist sues money-transfer business over bountyCase alleges that big money-transfer firm helped fund the killers.December 11, 2015
The son of a Somali singer and political activist gunned down by Al-Shabab operatives last year is suing an international money-transfer company with ties to Minnesota for allegedly paying a bounty on her life.
The lawsuit comes more than a year after the death of Saado Ali Warsame, 64, a Somali icon who lived in New York and Minneapolis before returning to her homeland in 2012. Her longtime push for social justice included roles in pushing out the country’s military regime and becoming one of the country’s first female members of parliament. Her death was mourned from Mogadishu to Minneapolis.
The lawsuit may mark the first time a company has been sued for providing funding to Al-Shabab, said Joshua Arisohn, an attorney for Warsame’s 22-year-old son Harbi Hussein, who lives in Minneapolis.
Not long before her death, Warsame pointed her criticism toward Dahabshiil, Africa’s largest money-transfer business, which facilitates most of the $1.6 billion sent to Somalia each year. The company, which houses a subsidiary headquarters in Minneapolis, is widely used by Minnesota Somalis to wire money to relatives back home, but it has been under international scrutiny for a lack of security in how money is transferred — and to whom, including potential terrorists in Somalia.
Last year, the Kenyan government temporarily suspended Dahabshiil’s operations after an Al-Shabab-led attack at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in 2013. Several western commercial banks have ceased doing business with Dahabshiil, in part out of concerns over terrorist financing, according to the lawsuit.
Warsame was an outspoken critic of the company, writing a protest song playing off the business’ name, which means “gold smelter.” She instead called Dahabshiil a “blood smelter” and urged Somalis not to do business there. A music video by Warsame featured a rifle dripping with blood next to the company’s name.
According to the lawsuit, Dahabshiil “placed a multimillion-dollar bounty” on Warsame as a result of the song. She was killed in July 2014 by two Al-Shabab operatives in Mogadishu; they were sentenced to death and executed in May.
The lawsuit demands damages for pain and suffering by Hussein because of the loss of his mother. He declined a comment through Arisohn.
Arisohn, whose New York-based law firm has handled terror financing cases for nine years, said others could be out there.
“We are working hard to unearth all of the institutions who are financing terrorism, and I think it’s incumbent on the government and private citizens alike to investigate these matters and make sure that financial institutions like Dahabshiil are putting in place the safeguards that they are supposed to have,” Arisohn said…