WASHINGTON — Despite success in shutting down the financing of terrorist groups within its borders, Saudi Arabia remains a top source of funding for Al Qaeda elsewhere and Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, the Government Accountability Office said in a report to Congress.
The report does not name individuals or estimate how much money might be flowing to the terrorists.
Since 2003, the Saudis have barred charities from transferring money outside the kingdom, but the GAO said that this hadn't prevented Saudi-based charities with branches abroad from serving as funding sources for terrorist groups. Some of the money is being smuggled out of the country in cash through the use of couriers, it said.
The report cites the International Islamic Relief Organization and its branches in Indonesia and the Philippines as having provided fundraising support for Al Qaeda. It also points to the many branches of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation.
In 2004, the Saudi government said that Al-Haramain was being dissolved, but the organization's leadership reconstituted under different names and has continued to operate. Last year, the U.S. Treasury Department listed "all branches of Al-Haramain, including its headquarters in Saudi Arabia, for having provided support to Al Qaeda as well as other terrorists and terrorist organizations."