Evidently the tiny minority of extremists have a few good friends in international banking. Now banks in the United Arab Emirates are being investigated:
Banks in this financial hub of the Arab world remain a key focus in the investigation into terror funding despite moves to tighten reporting rules, freeze accounts and control informal money transfers, U.S. and Arab officials told The Associated Press.
The reason: Dubai’s history of shady transactions and the difficulty of tracking a matrix of legal and illegal free trade.
About half the $250,000 spent on the Sept. 11 attacks was wired to al-Qaida terrorists in the United States from Dubai banks, U.S. Treasury and Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates officials said.
Al-Qaida money in Dubai banks also has been linked to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania blamed on Osama bin Laden.
In addition, before Saddam Hussein’s ouster, this Persian Gulf emirate was a favorite transit point for smugglers sneaking past U.S.-led naval patrols enforcing United Nations trade sanctions. And it was through Dubai that Russian arms dealers supplied bin Laden’s Taliban backers in Afghanistan before the U.S.-led war ousted their Islamic government.
Sultan bin Nasser al-Suweidi, head of the Central Bank, told AP that financial officials are working closely with the U.S. government to block terror funding avenues. Central Bank officials have trained with U.S. investigators and other international experts to help them identify money launderers and suspicious transactions, he said.
“We don’t want wrongdoers. We totally don’t need them,” said the U.S.-educated al-Suweidi, who arrives at his office before 8 a.m. and is often seen working until 10 at night in the fortress-like Central Bank headquarters in the Emirates’ capital, Abu Dhabi.
“We totally don’t need them”? Where did al-Suweidi, like, learn his English?