Treasury takes action against 3 Saudis; Suspected of raising money to bankroll terrorist acts and providing support to an al-Qaida affiliated group
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bush administration took action Wednesday against three Saudis suspected of raising money to bankroll terrorist acts and providing support to an al-Qaida affiliated group believed responsible for bombings and kidnappings in Southeast Asia.
The action covers Abdul Rahim Al Talhi, Muhammad Abdallah Salih Sughayr and Fahd Muhammad Abd Al-Aziz Al-Khashiban, the Treasury Department said.
Any assets belonging to the men found in the United States must be frozen. Americans also are forbidden from doing business with them.
The department accused the three of providing support to the Abu Sayyaf Group, an al-Qaida-linked terrorist group, and serving as “significant sources of financial and other support” to terrorists in Southeast Asia.
“These three terrorist financiers were instrumental in raising money to fund terrorism outside of Saudi Arabia. In order to deter other would-be donors, it is important to hold these terrorists publicly accountable,” said Stuart Levey, the department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
The department alleged that Khashiban in early 2000 gave the then-leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group approximately $18,000 to finance a planned bombing operation targeting either the U.S. or Australian embassy in Manila. Philippine authorities, however, foiled the plot before its completion, the department said. Still, Khashiban continued to routinely provide money to the group, the department said.
Sughayr, the department alleged, has a history of providing support to terrorist groups in Southeast Asia and has been identified “as one of the major financial supporters” of Abu Sayyaf Group. The department also believes he “facilitated unspecified weapons and ammunition shipments,” recruited foreign fighters and gave specialized guerrilla training to the group.
Al-Talhi was described by Treasury as an al-Qaida-affiliated financier, loyal colleague of Osama bin Laden and a member of a Saudi-based network funding terrorists. The department alleged that al-Talhi provided financial and other assistance to Abu Sayyaf for many years. He also provided “ideological and training materials, including the al-Qaida operations manual” to Philippine contacts, the department alleged.
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