In Stunning Move, UN and US Delist Nasreddin and His Companies from Sanctions

By Jonathan Winer

In a move subject to no publicity whatsoever, and so far not reported by the press, the UN Security Council today without explanation removed Ahmed Idris Nasreddin and 12 of his companies from the terrorist sanctions list, freeing them from sanctions on a global basis. The UN action followed a similar action by the United States dated yesterday.

The move reflects a 180 degree change from previous assessments of Nasreddin, as articulated by the U.S. Treasury when he and his companies were designated as terrorist financiers by the G-7 on April 19, 2002 and by the UN a week later.

At that time, Treasury stated that Nasreddin operated an extensive financial network providing support for terrorist related activities through commercial holdings which included “an extensive conglomeration of businesses” from which he derived income and conducted transactions. Back then, Treasury stated without qualifiication that “Nasreddin’s corporate holdings and financial network provide direct support for Nada and Bank Al Taqwa,” themselves designated as terrorist financiers by the U.S. on November 7, 2001, and the UN on November 9, 2001.

Five years ago, the U.S. Treasury stated that Nasreddin held a controlling interest in Akida Bank, also on the terrorist finance sanctions list, which it described as not being a functional banking institution but a shell company lacking a physical presence, and which had its license revoked by the Bahamian government.

Treasury further stated that Bank Al Taqwa, for which Nasreddin was a director, was established in 1988 with significant backing from the Muslim Brotherhood, which had been involved in financing radical groups such as the Palestinian Hamas, Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front and Armed Islamic Group, Tunisia’s An-Nahda, and Usama bin Laden and his Al Qaida organization.

Previously, President George W. Bush personally announced the freezing the assets of Nasreddin’s bank, Al Taqwa after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C.

Was it all some kind of mistake, and Nasreddin and his bank and companies were all on the list by error, having never helped finance any terrorist group? Or was the U.S. right the first time when it stated:

“Ahmed Idris Nasreddin provides direct support for Youssef Nada and Bank Al Taqwa, both of which were designated as terrorist financiers by the Department of Treasury on November 7, 2001. The al Taqwa group has long acted as financial advisers to al Qaida, with offices in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy and the Caribbean. Ahmed Idris Nasreddin and Youssef Nada are both founders and directors of Bank Al Taqwa. Usama bin Laden and his al-Qaida organization received financial assistance from Youssef Nada. Al Taqwa provides investment advice and cash transfer mechanisms for al Qaida and other radical Islamic groups.”

An official explanation is definitely needed to begin to make sense of this one.

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