Saudi Businessman Denies Funding Terrorists
A prominent Saudi businessman whose name appears on a US list of people suspected of funding terrorism denied in remarks published Sunday that he has any links with terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda.
Yassin Abdullah al-Qadi, who runs the Jamoum general trading company in Jeddah, told the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that he asked his lawyers in the United States and Britain to take all necessary measures "to clear my name and explain the situation."
Qadi, whose name is among 39 people whose assets the United States has urged be frozen worldwide, said his money had not been frozen and that all his financial transactions in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere continued smoothly in the past two days.
But Qadi, a millionaire whose portfolio includes a large shopping mall in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, said he had managed a charity organisation that sent relief and funds to Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
"The charity, known as Muwafaq, sent some 20 million dollars until 1995 when it was shut down," Qadi said.
The charity, founded by six Saudi businessmen, including himself, was registered on the Isle of Man and has maintained regular accounts showing where the money went, he said.
The businessman said he saw prime terror suspect and leader of Al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden several times in Afghanistan at some religious lectures a long time ago, but asserted he had no dealings with Al-Qaeda.
Qadi said he has condemned the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, like the Saudi government, because "our religion does not accept the killing of innocent people" -- Riyadh, (AFP)