Iran-PA Fund Transfers Hard to Stop

(AP) Steven Gutkin - Israel would have a hard time stopping Iran and other Muslim nations from sending large sums of money to a Hamas-led Palestinian government to make up for a threatened cutoff in Western aid. Money could be sent by electronic transfers or be carried in suitcases through a Palestinian-controlled border crossing into the Gaza Strip, financial officials said. Israeli intelligence officials estimate Iran is already giving Hamas about $10 million a year. While Israel has vowed to stem any significant money flow from Iran, international banks that do business in both Iran and the Palestinian territories could secretly transfer money from Iran's Finance Ministry to the PA, because neither has been the target of international sanctions or declared illegal by the UN Security Council. That means the transfers would not be subject to the anti-terror financing regulations imposed after Sept. 11, which prohibit the international transfer of funds to terrorist organizations. However, banks that handle the transfers, if exposed, could face lawsuits, boycotts, and other pressure.

2006-03-01 00:00:00

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