The central bank of the United Arab Emirates Thursday, September 27, ordered the freezing of accounts and investments of 26 individuals and organisations suspected of financing terrorist activities.
"Based on the UAE's decision in conjunction with the international efforts to fight terrorism, it has decided that all banks, moneychangers, investment companies and other financial institutions operating in the UAE would freeze the accounts of certain persons/terrorist entities," the bank said.
Among the list of accounts are Osama bin Laden, Washington's prime suspect in the September 11 terror attacks in the United States that left thousands dead, and his Al-Qaeda network.
The bank warned that "non-compliance will lead to freezing of your assets in the United States and its financial institutions and other countries and would subject you to severe penalties in the UAE."
It requested financial institutions, including financial markets and the insurance sector, "not to transfer any funds to the persons/or entities mentioned above into any territory or country and in case you received funds from the persons/or entities mentioned or for their favour to freeze it immediately."
US President George W. Bush on Monday ordered banks to freeze the US assets of bin Laden and 26 other individuals and groups seen as linked to terrorism and the attacks on New York and Washington, and urged world governments to follow suit.
The decree is part of an international effort to disrupt terrorists' global financing networks.
The only alleged terrorist named by Bush not figuring on the UAE list was Iraqi national Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi (Abu Abdullah). The reasons for his omission were not given.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) severed diplomatic ties with Afghanistan's ruling Islamic militia on Saturday for refusing to hand over bin Laden.
Abu Dhabi, which recognised the Taliban in May 1997 after Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, gave the two diplomats and other Afghan staff at the embassy just 24 hours to take down the Afghan flag, close and leave the country.
In 1999, the US State Department identified the Dubai Islamic Bank as one institution through which bin Laden used to funnel various funds.
A department spokesman said at the time that "the government of the UAE has told us that the Dubai emirate's government has taken steps to clean up the bank and to restore its reputation". ― (AFP, Abu Dhabi)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )