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FBI: Terrorist Fund Flows Likely to Shift to Asia

A crackdown on illegal money flows has forced Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network to channel funds away from the Middle East, likely to Asia, a senior FBI officer said on Tuesday. “They are looking for other routes they can transit their money through,” said Dennis Lormel, the chief of the FBI’s anti-terrorist financing unit, adding … “it’s a good possibility” that Asia could be an alternative. The capture of alleged al Qaeda master planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed this month, along with his computers, will provide leads for Federal Bureau of Investigation agents seeking the money that has funded attacks such as the September 11 strikes and the Bali bombings, he said. “Terrorists were moving money through the UAE (United Arab Emirates). They’re shifting away from the UAE… It’s more likely that you could see terrorists trying to penetrate this (Asian) market now,” Lormel told a news conference during a visit in Hong Kong. Lormel said al Qaeda was moving less funds through the UAE, since the Emirates stepped up efforts against money laundering and set new laws last year. He also said the U.S. government was likely in the future to freeze some accounts or company assets in Asia Pacific region because of suspected terrorist fund flows. He declined to give details. Full Story

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