Brown orders assets freeze in 38 more cases

War against terrorism: Finance
Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Government has ordered a freeze on the assets of 38 more individuals and organisations believed to have links with terrorism, including two men with British connections. The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, said on Friday they were taking "decisive action" with the US government to crack down on cash that funds terror attacks.

One of the suspects named on Friday was born in London and a second was linked with an address in central London. The Treasury said those named in the document, the second list to be published this week, are believed to have "committed or pose a significant risk of committing or providing material support for acts of terrorism".

The Bank of England has circulated the list to banks, building societies, stockbrokers and other financial institutions, with instructions to freeze any suspect accounts and report details to police. Mr Brown said: "If any of those named hold assets in the UK they will be frozen immediately. Just as there can be no safe haven for terrorists we are taking decisive action to ensure there is no safe hiding place for their assets.

"The list is a result of intelligence sharing and co-ordination between UK and US. We will continue to work with our allies, and take a leading role internationally to cut off the ready supply of finance which is the lifeblood of modern terrorism.

"These measures are part of detailed proposals being formulated to expose, isolate and incapacitate funds being used for terrorist activities."

Unlike previous lists of suspect organisations, yesterday's was not linked directly with the Taliban or Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'ida network. Instead they are said to be suspected of being involved with or financing unspecified "acts of terrorism". The list encompasses the assets of all 22 of the FBI's "most wanted" terrorists who were named by President Bush earlier this week.

The individual with an address in central London is Ayadi Chafiq bin Muhammad, 38, who also uses at least four other names. He is identified as living in Park Road, close to Regent's Park, but also has connections with Munich, Vienna, Belgium and Tunisia. Another man, Omar Mahmoud Uthman, was born in London in 1960 and is listed as having eight aliases. The document also lists his UK national insurance number. One of the suspects, Riad Huazi, is a US citizen born in California and the document lists his social security number.

The list includes two companies involved in producing and selling Yemeni honey. CIA agents believe Mr bin Laden has used a chain of honey shops to smuggle cash, drugs and arms to his al-Qa'ida followers. Afghanistan and Yemen, at the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula where Mr bin Laden's family originate from, are famed for the quality of their honey, an important foodstuff in the region.

One of the honey companies named in the Treasury's list is Al-Shifa Honey Press for Industry and Commerce, whose address is given as "By the shrine next to the gas station, Jamal Street, Ta'iz, Yemen". The company also has addresses at a PO box elsewhere in Yemen and in Qatar. The second company is the Al-Nur Honey Press Shops, also known as Al-Nur Honey Centre, at Sanaa in Yemen.

Egyptian Islamic Jihad, run by Mr bin Laden's close associate Ayman al-Zawahiri, was already known to use the honey industry as a front for fundraising and distribution. Another business highlighted in today's document is the Al-Hamati Sweets Bakeries in the Hadhramawt area of Yemen.

An almost identical list was published by President Bush on Friday but it also included the name of one suspect who had been included in an earlier list circulated in the UK.

The Bush administration said on Friday that £17m in assets, including some belonging to Mr bin Laden, had been frozen by the US and other countries since the terror attacks.

Comments