Standard Chartered 'used to finance 11 September attacks'

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The Independent Online

Standard Chartered, the London-based emerging markets bank, was used by the terrorists behind the 11 September attacks in the United States.

According to US court filings, suspected hijackers opened accounts at a Dubai branch of Standard Chartered and then used credit cards to transfer more than $78,000 (£53,800) to the US. The money went towards paying for flying lessons in the US. Standard Chartered declined to comment yesterday, but it is thought to be working closely with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The revelations come in this week's indictment, filed in a US District Court in Virginia, of Zacarias Moussaoui, the 33-year-old French Moroccan this week. He is alleged to have arranged the financing of the terror attacks. It also claims that one of the suspected hijackers opened current and savings accounts at one of the Standard Chartered's two branches in Dubai in June and then travelled to Florida where he and another eight suspected hijackers opened accounts at SunTrust Banks. SunTrust is also co-operating with the FBI. A few days before the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, the suspected hijackers wired money back to Dubai.

Non-residents in the United Arab Emirates are allowed to open bank accounts on the basis of providing a passport and an address, but need to provide proof of funds' origins for transactions exceeding $10,900. According to local reports, the UAE has closed 14 bank accounts and is searching for a further 128 in a clampdown on money laundering.

Analysts said the latest revelations were unlikely to have a material impact on Standard Chartered's reputation, as other banks are likely to emerge as having been used by the terrorists. Standard Chartered lost its New York offices in 7 World Trade Centre, but its 473 staff there escaped unharmed. Last month the bank appointed Mervyn Davies chief executive to replace Rana Talwar.

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