Bahamas: Bahamas Freezes Funds Linked To Terrorist Activities
Last Updated: 18 October 2001

Nassau, The Bahamas ... A $20 million fund, with a beneficiary whose name appears on the terrorist's on the UN's " most wanted terrorist" list, has been frozen in The Bahamas. The investigation is ongoing to confirm the beneficiary is indeed the same as the hijacker.

The account was ordered frozen on September 28 pursuant to the International Obligations (Afganistan) Act 2001. This Act requires the automatic freezing of any funds associated with the Osama Bin Laden, Al Quaeda and the hijackers. The Act follows the compendium of legislation passed in 2000 and continues to position The Bahamas as a leader in the fight against money laundering.

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said the country's Financial Intelligence Unit froze the account, which was in a local trust, because a name of one of the beneficiaries of the account appeared on the UN terrorism watch list.

" The account has not been active in recent times, except that interest from the account has been made available to beneficiaries, " said Mr. Ingraham. "We have no evidence to support the contention that proceeds from the account were used for terrorist activities."

He said that The Bahamas is unable to substantiate a statement made by the U.S. Treasury Department indicating that monies from the account were used for terrorism activities. He said The Bahamas announced the freeze because the U. S. government had made public this information

" We do not discuss the freezing of bank accounts in The Bahamas by our Financial Intelligence Unit," he said. " We share this information with others and we shared this information with the U.S. They have chosen to make the information public and we have, therefore, decided that we will put all of the facts on the table without the name of the institution or the individual involved."

The bank that holds the account is a well-established institution with operations in most G-7 countries and is itself an institution from a G-7 country that has been doing business in The Bahamas for many years.

The $20 million trust fund was opened in 1994 by a father who named his four sons as beneficiaries.

Mr. Ingraham said, " We are part of the international effort to rid the world of terrorism, wherever it is. We will provide no support for terrorist activity whether that is in relationship to financial services or anything else. And we will be supportive of all efforts in accordance with international law and conventions to be rid of terrorism in the world."

Prime Minister Ingraham made the announcement at the conclusion of a two-day emergency meeting of the Conference Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community.

A Nassau Declaration adopted by the Caribbean leaders during the meeting said, " We are conscious that the unprecedented and barbaric terrorist assaults of September 11 will require of us extraordinary vigilance and co-ordination in the future, to ensure that our territories, our institutions and our citizens, are not used in any manner to facilitate the activities of terrorism or to undermine our national and regional security."

For more information: Wendy Warren, Bahamas Financial Services Board

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