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2002-08-29 14:30:22

Bahamas-Based Firms On US Terrorist Financing Blacklist

By Neil Hartnell, The Tribune

But nation praised for role in fighting Al Qaida as new Al Taqwa affiliates named

The US yesterday added three more Bahamas-incorporated companies related to Bank Al Taqwa's owner, Youssef Nada, to its list of alleged terrorist financiers and praised this nation for working with itself, Italy and Luxembourg in a four-pronged effort to "choke off the sources of financing for terrorist acts."

The three Bahamas entities were named as Akida Bank Private Ltd., Akida investment Company and Nasreddin Group International Holding.

The US alleged that Mr. Nada served on Akida Bank Private's board of directors alongside the organisation's president, Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, who allegedly provided "direct support" for Bank Al Taqwa through his corporate financial network. Out of the 25 individuals and companies designated as terror financiers by the US and Italy yesterday, 14 are entities allegedly owned or controlled by Mr. Nada.

The US Treasury claimed in a statement that Mr. Nada and Mr. Nasreddin's organisations were "part of an extensive financial network providing support to Al Qaida and other terrorist-related organisations," and praised The Bahamas for playing its part in the crack down against terror financing since the September 11 attacks.

None of the allegations against Mr. Nada, Mr. Nasreddin and their companies have been proven and the US has yet to supply any evidence of wrongdoing.

Sean Hanna, the Nassau-based attorney who represents Mr. Nada's interests in this nation has frequently denied all the claims levelled against his client and became embroiled in a heated war of words with the US Embassy when he challenged the Bush administration to "put up or shut up" on the issue.

Mr. Hanna added that Bank Al Taqwa voluntarily gave up its licence to conduct banking business in this nation in 2001 due to the fact that establishing a physical presence in this jurisdiction in accordance with the new banking laws was not economical given the heavy losses the bank had previously sustained in the Asian markets. 

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