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Emirates Officials Revoke Money Changer's License

Mideast: Move comes after bank discloses transfer of $100,000 to one of hijack suspects.

November 01, 2001|From Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Central Bank officials said Wednesday that they have revoked the license of a money changer, a week after the bank accused a money changer of transferring $100,000 to Florida for one of the suspected hijackers in the World Trade Center attack.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, wouldn't say whether the two incidents involved the same money changer.

Last week, Central Bank Governor Sultan bin Nasser al Suweidi said a money changer in the emirate of Sharjah had made four transfers to a bank in Florida for a total of $100,000 over a six-month period last year. He would not identify the Florida bank or the money changer.

The transfers went to Marwan Al-Shehhi, a United Arab Emirates native who allegedly piloted United Airlines Flight 175, the second plane to hit the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11.

Recent changes in Central Bank rules now require contact information for anyone wanting to transfer more than the equivalent of $550.

Meanwhile, in Switzerland, officials said Wednesday they have blocked 24 bank accounts containing $12 million based on a U.S. list of organizations and individuals suspected of links to the Sept. 11 attacks. Vera Britsch, spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor's office, said the accounts had been frozen indefinitely.

Britsch said the new moves against bank accounts were based on a list of 39 individuals and organizations the U.S. Treasury Department named on Oct. 12 as suspected of conducting or financing terrorist activities.

Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill said the list includes businesses and charitable groups that funnel money to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist network.

Indonesia said Wednesday that it too will move to freeze bank accounts with suspected links to international terrorism.

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