P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News
Publication Date: 
Mon, 2007-12-24 03:00

JEDDAH, 24 December 2007 — The six-year-long saga of Saudi businessman Yassin Abdullah Al-Qadi, who was accused by US authorities of funding terrorism, has ended with the Swiss federal prosecutor exonerating him of all charges.

According to a report carried by Al-Watan newspaper yesterday, judicial authorities in Switzerland have closed the case against Al-Qadi after investigations that lasted for six years and two months.

The judgment issued by a court in Geneva on Dec. 13 said it had not found any basis for the accusations leveled against Al-Qadi. “This statement in Swiss law means clear exoneration,” the paper said quoting a lawyer for the businessman.

The lawyer, who requested anonymity, said the court verdict would lead to unfreezing Al-Qadi’s accounts in Swiss banks and the Geneva-based Faisal Bank.

According to the lawyer, the American accusation against Al-Qadi was based on two facts. First, a picture of Al-Qadi that was taken while he was in Afghanistan in the early 1990s and second, his transfer of $1.25 million to an organization that constructed a student hostel in Yemen, the Arabic daily said.

Al-Qadi, who was listed by the FBI among individuals allegedly linked to the Al-Qaeda organization, said the inclusion of his name in the list without any evidence was tantamount to a human rights violation. “I don’t have any connection, be it close or distant, with Al-Qaeda or its leader Bin Laden, either directly or indirectly,” Al-Qadi said in a previous statement.

The United States and the United Nations froze Al-Qadi’s assets shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, after the FBI produced and distributed a list of 39 individuals and groups which included the Saudi businessman.

According to the US Treasury Department, Al-Qadi’s name was put on the list for running a charity named Mowafek Charitable Foundation, which it said had allegedly funneled millions to Bin Laden. Al-Qadi said he believed that his name was included because of his position as a founding member of the foundation, which was closed down several years ago.

In August 2006, Turkey’s highest court, the Council of State, overturned a government order that resulted in the freezing of Al-Qadi’s assets. In its judgment the Council of State found that no evidence had been presented linking Al-Qadi with Al-Qaeda and said that the Turkish government had acted unconstitutionally and that the order should be overturned. The court also noted that in relation to the allegations, Al-Qadi had never been indicted or charged by a court of law anywhere in the world including the US.

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