Having a quarter of the world‘s oil reserves may mean never having to say you‘re sorry to Washington. Instead, when Newsweek reported in December that checks from the wife of the Saudi ambassador to the United States had been sent to associates of two of the September 11 hijackers, Saudi and Washington officials revved up their spin machines.
When the reports surfaced, Haifa bint Faisal, wife of Saudi ambassador Bandar bin Sultan, acknowledged that she sent nearly $150,000 to the wife of a Saudi living in San Diego. The recipient, Majeda Ibrahin Dweikat, signed over some of the checks to a friend whose husband, Omar al-Bayoumi (with Dweikat‘s husband), helped hijackers Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf Alhazmi find housing in San Diego, open bank accounts, get Social Security cards, pay expenses and arrange flying lessons in Florida.
MSNBC exclusive: Document shows Tunisian with alleged al-Qaida links gave information to Italians two years ago
A Tunisian-born terrorism suspect placed two weeks ago on Washington‘s list of most-wanted militants confessed two years before to Italian police that he helped run an elaborate arms smuggling ring that aided Islamic militants, but it‘s not clear whether Italian and U.S. officials acted on the information. The case, revealed in a confidential document obtained by MSNBC.com, raises new questions about intelligence gathering in the war on al-Qaida.
The world‘s biggest banks and multinational corporations have set up a shadowy system to secretly move trillions of dollars”a system that can be exploited by tax evaders, drug runners and even terrorists.
In the tax haven of Luxembourg, a little-known outfit called Clearstream handles billions of dollars a year in stock and bond transfers for banks, investment companies and multinational corporations. But a former top official of this “clearinghouse” says Clearstream operates a secret bookkeeping system that allows its clients to hide the money that moves through their accounts.
A previously unpublished list reveals that backers of a bank that the U.S. says helped fund al-Qaida include prominent members of the Arab world.
According to an unpublished list obtained by the author, the Al Taqwa bank, part of a network of financial companies named by the Bush administration as a major source and distributor of funds for Osama bin Laden’s terrorist operations, has shareholders that include prominent Arab figures from numerous countries in the Middle East. Among the shareholders are the grand mufti of the United Arab Emirates and prominent families in the UAE and Kuwait. Two sisters of Osama bin Laden are also on the list, undermining the bin Laden family’s claim that it separated itself from his terrorist pursuits after he was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1994.
How did Enron executives cause the world’s biggest bankruptcy while making off with millions? By using the same secret money system used by terrorists and financial swindlers — an offshore financial system that U.S. officials must rein in.
NEW YORK–How did top executives of Enron do it? How did they cause the world’s biggest bankruptcy while making off with millions of dollars?
They used the same financial tools as Osama bin Laden.
Top executives of Enron caused the world’s biggest bankruptcy while making off with millions of dollars by using the same financial tools as Osama Bin Laden.
The Bush administration knew right where to look when it wanted to shut down Bin Laden’s financial network ” offshore secrecy havens. The system moves money for people with something to hide. Sometimes they are terrorists. Sometimes they are financial swindlers.
U.S. investigators had to use muscle to get the Bin Laden information. When a Bahamas bank refused to open its records, the U.S. had it cut off from the world’s wire transfer systems and the bank changed its mind within hours. Offshore revelations on Enron should make the public and policymakers question the continued existence of the world’s financial services system for criminals.
NEW YORK–A controversial European book that might help authorities track terrorist funding sources remains unpublished and relatively unknown in the United States.
”Entitled Revelation$,it exposes a secret banking system that might be used by terrorists. At the center is a clearinghouse in Luxembourg called Clearstream, which transfers money for international banks and major companies.
Written by a former high-ranking Clearstream official and a French journalist, its publication last February by Les Arenes in Paris triggered the firing of Clearstream’s top officials, a judicial inquiry in Luxembourg, and invitations to the authors to address members of the European Parliament and the French parliamentary commission on financial crime and money-laundering.
Terrorist networks all over the world depend on the international bank and corporate secrecy system to hide and move their money. This structure is allowed to exist by agreement of the world’s banks and financial powers. A lot of people make money from it, including the owners and managers of banks that hide customers’ deposits from tax authorities. But an unintended consequence is that it helps worldwide networks of terrorists.
Terrorists need a way to finance operations in dozens of countries around the globe, to pay for houses, salaries, transport, weapons and explosives.
For years the banking laws of the United States and its allies have protected money laundering, which makes money for banks and the wealthy, and has even helped Washington fund freedom fighters. But the system also provides funds and cover for terrorists; the system must be dismantled with new laws.
The global money-laundering system used by terrorists has also served the U.S. government and banks for years, creating wealth and occasionally supporting U.S. political interests abroad. Changing U.S. bank secrecy laws to pierce that laundering system is as essential to stopping terrorism as military force and diplomatic moves.
Global money laundering made easy by loose rules on secret accounts
Terrorists work the levers of global banking laws to move money that finance their efforts from phony banks to real ones, like Britain’s Barclays Bank, which Osama bin Laden allegedly used.
Terrorist networks all over the world depend on the international bank and corporate secrecy system to hide and move their money. This structure is allowed to exist by agreement of the world‘s banks and financial powers. A lot of people make money from it, including the owners and managers of banks that hide customers‘ deposits from tax authorities. But an unintended consequence is that it aids and abets worldwide networks of terrorists.