Following the money trail

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Banks may face investigation over cash trail

Special report:terrorism in the US

Jill Treanor Monday September 17, 2001 The Guardian

Demands for a worldwide investigation into how Osama bin Laden financed his suspected terrorist attacks on New York and Washington are expected to be made to international crime agencies. Associates of the multi-millionaire Saudi dissident are also likely to fall under the scope of any concerted attempt to chase his money trail, after reports that one of them moved cash through an account with a Barclays branch in London.

Bin Laden, whose inheritance allows him an annual income of 30m, is thought likely to hold a large network of accounts in banks around the world so that he can quickly move the large sums necessary to fund his operations.

City sources suggest that few financial jurisdictions will be untouched by his operation and that many banks may have inadvertently allowed his money, or that of his associates, to pass through their opera tions. Barclays, named this weekend, would only say it was "fully aware of our obligations under money laundering laws. We report any thing suspicious".

Initial concerns about potential money laundering must be made to the national criminal intelligence service, which also has a cooperative agree ment with the financial services authority.

According to one report, the FBI believes that Bin Laden financed at least part of his efforts through a Barclays branch in Notting Hill, west London. The account was held by Khalid al-Fawwaz, who is believed to have run Bin Laden's business network in the UK.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,553162,00.html

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), September 17, 2001


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