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Thursday, 11 October, 2001, 21:06 GMT 22:06 UK
Bin Laden's honey connection
Osama Bin Laden
Bin Laden may have launched his operation from Sudan
Osama Bin Laden has been using a network of shops selling honey - a trade widespread in the Middle East - to raise money and smuggle contraband, the New York Times reports.


The smell and consistency of the honey makes it easy to hide weapons and drugs in the shipments. Inspectors don't want to inspect that product. It's too messy

US official
The Bush administration is considering adding the names of some of the stores under investigation to a list of people and entities whose assets the United States wants frozen by allies around the world, officials told the US daily.

The list, the second that the administration has compiled, is expected to be released as early as the end of this week, officials said.

Bin Laden has been known to use charities, banks and informal financial networks to move money and operatives from country to country.

The Central Intelligence Agency has been gathering information about al-Qaeda's ties to the honey trade for several years. But it was not until last May that a top secret report on the honey shops was distributed within the intelligence community, officials said.

Wide network

The honey stores said to be controlled by al-Qaeda can be found throughout the Middle East and in Pakistan, and provide legitimate revenue for Bin Laden's terrorist network, officials say.

Middle East honey
Yemen produces some of the best honey
Afghanistan is also reputed for its production
Saudi Arabian families consume on average more than 0.9 kg (two pounds) a month
Pakistan is one of the biggest exporters to Saudi Arabia
The US exported 1,800 tonnes of honey to the region in 2000


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See also:

24 Sep 01 | Business
20 Sep 01 | Americas
19 Sep 01 | Business
18 Sep 01 | Business
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