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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Terrorist Financing: Status Update

Most of the charges against Saudi businessmen, senior members of the Al-Saud family and institutions accused of financing Al-Qaeda in civil litigation led by South Carolinabased law firm Motley Rice have been dismissed by US judges.

Other US lawsuits against members of the Saudi elite have also failed, but the lawsuits just keep coming. Thus a mogul of the Arab/Islamic financial and media scene, Al-Baraka Investment and Development CorporationAl-Baraka Investment and Development Corporation chairman Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel - who was among those accused in the Motley Rice case - had a suit filed against him last December on behalf of US insurance companies focusing on suspicions of terrorist financing;within the month the case was dismissed by US judge Richard Conway Casey.

A legal source active in defending terrorism finance cases was highly critical of the way such litigation was being dealt with in the USA, calling it a "big mess." Talking to GSN from the Gulf, he argued that there were still no specific procedures in place to fight against claims of links to terrorism, while defence teams suffered from a lack of co-operation from US authorities and the abuse of information; he described this as a "Kafka-like jurisprudence targeting Muslims."

Civil litigation lawyers have not given up on Saudi and other Gulf nationals, but they are increasingly focusing their efforts on major international banks and their alleged role in terrorist financing - representing a shift away from Al-Qaeda towards Hamas and Lebanon's powerful Hizbollah movement.

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