Well Connected Saudi Mogul Skirts Sanctions

[Wall Street Journal] Glenn R. Simpson - Multimillionaire Saudi businessman Yassin Qadi, a close friend of Turkish premier Tayyip Erdogan, is a major financier of Islamic terrorism with close business associates who are members of al-Qaeda, according to the U.S. Treasury and the UN Security Council. At Washington's request, the Security Council ordered Qadi's assets frozen a few weeks after 9/11. The asset freeze has largely crippled Qadi's international business empire. But previously undisclosed records show he has managed to free up millions of dollars of holdings in Turkey - in apparent violation of Security Council sanctions. The records detailing his business activities suggest how easy it is to skirt sanctions designed to restrict funding of terrorism - especially for well-connected figures. "That Erdogan personally vouches for this man...raises the possibility that the prime minister of Turkey is far less interested in combating terrorism than he says," said former Defense Department aide Michael Rubin. Qadi, whose business empire is based mostly in Saudi Arabia, is a longtime partner of Turkish businessman Cuneyd Zapsu, as well as other key Justice and Development Party figures. Zapsu, who in 2001 helped Erdogan found the Justice and Development Party, also supported an Islamic charity Qadi founded that is at the center of the U.S. and Security Council decision to freeze the Saudi businessman's assets.

2007-08-30 01:00:00

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