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Qatar has returned to the forefront of global debate as a haven for wanted and listed terrorists on the international terror lists after reporting exploitation of legal loopholes to finance terrorists. Three men on the top of the list have found salvation and protection in Doha away from the public international law. According to documents published by the Wall Street Journal, blacklisted terrorists are still able to access their frozen accounts due to loopholes in sanctions UN records show that the Security Council granted blacklisted individuals access to their accounts in 71 out of 72 requests between 2008 and 2018. The UN blacklisted terrorist groups members or supporters are not supposed to have access to any form of funding to ensure they can not support or launch additional attacks. In order to allow these individuals pay basic living expenses, their countries of origin should apply for exemptions from the UN to grant restricted access to small amounts of money on a detailed budget request, to pay for food, dwelling and other necessities. Khalifa al-Subaie Khalifa al-Subaie is one of the most prominent beneficiaries of the sanctions loopholes adopted by the UN Security Council. He is one of the most influential financiers of terrorism in the region, whose name is linked to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks and al-Nusra Front also known as al-Qaeda in Syria or the Levant. Qatar and Qatar National Bank (QNB) have manipulated the loopholes to allow al-Subaie receive 10,000 $ per month without the Security Council's approval. Al-Subaie has been listed on the international terrorism list since 2008, among al-Qaeda supporters and financiers. Washington accuses him of being "al-Qaeda's first man in Qatar" supporting the leaders of the terrorist organization including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks. Qatar had detained al-Subaie for 6 months and released him, ignoring all international and US demands to interrogate him. In 2012, al-Subaie was implicated in sending funds to al-Qaeda in Pakistan. He also raised funds in 2013 to support al-Nusra in Syria and one of al-Qaeda leaders, Abdullah al-Muhaiseni. In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain blacklisted al-Subaie among other 59 terrorists, while Doha keeps ignoring international demands to interrogate him. Mubarak al-Ajji Al-Subai is not the only one enjoying Qatar's protection. Another listed terrorist named Mubarak al-Ajji is a lucid example of Doha's paradoxical policies. Qatar has been forced to include al-Ajji on terrorist lists under extreme international pressure. However, controversy aroused when Doha honoured al-Ajji for being a Marathon runner. Al-Ajji has been blacklisted for years by the United States and was listed as well by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in summer 2017 on the list of terrorism, yet he is still enjoying the protection of Doha's regime. This duality indicates that the measures Doha has pledged to Washington to take against the terrorists harboured by Qatar are merely a dead letter. Abdul Rahman al-Nuaimi Abdul Rahman al-Nuaimi, another terrorist, who is supposedly on the list of international sanctions and Qatari terrorism, has returned to Qatar's spotlight. The man is still twittering to promote Alkarama organisation, which is accused of financing terrorist groups. Two-year old photos also showed some Qatari officials attending and celebrating his son's wedding. United States Department of the Treasury has revealed the funding of al-Nuaimi to terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda in a number of countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen as well as the Somali Youth Movement. The British government has also included al-Nuaimi on the list of sanctions, having been suspected of financing extremist groups. His assets were frozen in Britain and any bank with branches in Britain has been prohibited from providing him with any services. Furthermore, al-Nuaimi is blacklisted on the Arabian Quartet Counterterrorism list of terrorists. Absence of a mechanism of sanctions enforcement Some UN officials declare that Member States do not monitor blacklisted terrorists who sufficiently live within their borders and fail to prevent these individuals from obtaining funding. In contrast, the exemptions procedure is largely regulated and lacks censorship where unjustified and undisciplined large amounts of money are granted to anyone who requests. Besides there are no spending checks. The expert at the Near East Center for Strategic Studies, David Deroche, considers transferring government funds to terrorist groups is a disgrace and awful embarrassment to Qatar. "We are talking about the millions of dollars that went to al- Qaeda and certainly the international community has to take extreme measure; for instance, establishing a body to monitor the implementation of punitive actions," Deroche commented. "Countries such as the United States should focus on such issues," he added. According to Ahmed Pan, expert on counterterrorism, "Even though the United Nations launched a strategy to combat the financing of terrorism in 2006 and addressed various countries to seriously be committed to it, some countries have totally ignored the instructions, including Qatar, which unfortunately has assigned someone on the terrorism list like al-Subaie in the Anti-Money Laundering Committee in Doha."
Sanctions loopholes bring Qatar's terror triangle back to the fore

How Qatari banks are accused of funding Muslim Brotherhood, global terrorism

Qatar’s use of banks to fund terrorism across the world is in the spotlight after this week’s revelation that UK-based Qatari-owned Al Rayan Bank provides banking services to the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist groups in Britain, the latest case of alleged Qatari support for terrorism.

On Sunday, British daily The Times reported that Qatari-owned Al Rayan Bank has provided banking services to organizations linked to terrorism in Britain.

The report said that Al Rayan Bank has several clients who have had their accounts in other banks closed or frozen due to a security clampdown. At least four of its clients have had their other accounts closed in banks including HSBC, Barclays, NatWest, and Lloyds TSB.

But the Al Rayan case is only the latest in a string of accusations.

Earlier in April, a new book titled the “Qatar Papers – How the emirate finances Islam in France and Europe” revealed that Doha funded dozens of mosques and Islamic center projects in Europe, the majority through a network tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The book, authored by French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, contained proof of transfers of several million dollars from Qatar to fund more than 140 projects in Europe, with 50 in Italy alone. It says that the network stretches across countries including Italy, France, Switzerland, and Germany.

Switzerland

Among Qatar’s network members in Switzerland included Mohamed and Nadia Karmous, who received millions of euros between 2011 and 2013 through seven bank transfers from Qatar Charity. It reveals that Nadia Karmous was directly recommended by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Qatar-based spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In 2007, Mohamed Karamous, who served as treasurer of the European Institute for Human Sciences – a university in central France affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe and funded by Qatar – was arrested by Swiss authorities in a high-speed train while in possession of €50,000 ($56,000) in cash from Qatar.

The Qatar Papers also documented how Qatar paid rape-accused Swiss Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan. The Qatar Foundation paid Ramadan €35,000 a month as a consultant. Bank documents obtained by the book’s authors showed that Ramadan withdrew €590,000 from Qatari bank accounts just before his arrest in France.

France

Qatar also faces several accusations of financing terror and suspicious financial activity in France.

As a result of the Qatar Papers, French Member of the European Parliament Gilbert Collard said in April that he had requested for the creation of a commission of inquiry into the financing of Islamist and Salafist propaganda by a foreign state via the Qatar Charity organization in France.

In total, the authors of the Qatar Papers documented payments of up to €72 million to groups in seven European countries.

Another example of Qatar’s abuse of banking laws to fund sanctioned individuals came to light after several media outlets raised questions regarding properties acquired by Qatar’s Attorney General and Chairman of Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Center (ROLACC), Ali bin Futtais al-Marri.

In May 2018, French magazine Le Point said that al-Marri has a list of expensive properties across Europe that are difficult to explain considering his official income. According to one report, the Qatari official bought “himself a three-story mansion at 86 Avenue d’Iéna, just a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, for €9.6 million in October 2013.”

The Qatari Attorney General played an active role in the 2008 release of Qatari citizen Jarallah Saleh Mohammed Kahla al-Marri from the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

According to one memo from the US ambassador in Doha at the time released via Wikileaks, the US resented Qatar’s non-compliance with the agreements reached regarding the conditions of Jarallah’s release.

In July, a French Senator called on the UN and international banking authorities to investigate how, according to reports, a Qatari terror financier Khalifa al-Subaiy, who was convicted on charges of funding and enabling terrorism and placed on the UN sanctions list, was provided with “banking facilities” by state-owned Qatar National Bank (QNB).

In an opinion article written for The Hill, French Senator, Nathalie Goulet, said that “it is impossible to assess the potential harm that has been caused without an extensive and transparent investigation,” adding that “the United Nations needs to investigate why loopholes in its own procedures allowed this breach.”

UK

In addition to the Al Rayan revelations, Qatar has been in the British headlines over its involvement in the trial of an ex-Barclays boss charged with fraud allegations.

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office prosecutor alleged that Barclays’ ex-chief executive John Varley and three former senior executives hid public documents detailing £322 million ($391 million) in secret fees paid to the Qatari investors as they fought to meet their tough demands.

Qatar Holding LLC, part of the state-owned Qatar Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund, and Challenger, an investment vehicle of Qatar’s former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, invested around four billion pounds in Barclays in two capital raising processes in June and October 2008, according to Reuters.

South Asia and North Africa

Qatar has also been involved in murky financial dealings outside of Europe, including in South Asia. In July 2017, the Indian Express reported on a series of investigations carried out by Indian authorities in the northern state of Kerala, investigating Doha’s involvement in financing terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and ISIS.

Qatari governmental institutions have been involved in the transfer of large sums of money – according to Indian intelligence – which indicated that these organizations received more than $ 1,190,000 from Doha.

Among the Qatari entities revealed in the Indian Express report is the Qatar Charity Foundation, which was blacklisted by the Arab Quartet countries of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE in 2017 over its terror financing activities.

Last year, a bloc within the Tunisian Parliament opened an investigation by deputies to uncover and prosecute the parties and entities involved in the case of the “suspicious” financial transfers carried out by an officer in Qatar’s armed forces for purposes related to the financing of terrorism and fueling chaos and instability in Tunisia and the region.

Staff writer

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