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Monday, 1 October, 2001, 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK
Bin Laden's 'cash link' to hijackers
Dubai skyline
Money was transferred to the hijackers from Dubai
There are reports that US investigators have uncovered evidence of financial transfers linking Osama Bin Laden to the 11 September attacks on America.

According to FBI sources, Mustafa Mohamed Ahmad, a suspected Bin Laden financial operative, transferred money to Mohamed Atta, one of the hijackers, in the days running up to the attacks

Furthermore Atta and two of the other hijackers transferred some $15,000 back to an account under the same name just two days before the attacks.

Osama Bin Laden
Ahmad is a suspected financial operative for Bin Laden
Mr Ahmad, also known as Sheikh Saeed, is one of 27 individuals or groups with a known link to Bin Laden who have had their assets in America frozen.

He worked as a financial manager for Bin Laden when he was based in Sudan and is believed to be a financial operative for the al-Qaeda organisation.

Operations fund

Cash transfers were made to Atta via a money service in Florida on 8 and 9 September from an account in Dubai, under the name of Mustafa Ahmad.

Atta is believed to have been the ringleader of the 19 hijackers.

Atta and two other hijackers - Waleed al-Shehri and Marwan al-Shehi - then each sent $5,000 from the US to an account in Dubai, also under the name of Mustafa Ahmad, two days before the attacks.

The money is believed to have been unused surplus from the fund for the attacks, which investigators say may have amounted to about $500,000.

Moved to Pakistan

The man who collected the funds in the UAE then travelled to Karachi in Pakistan on the day of the attacks using a Saudi passport, according to Sheikh Abdullah, the son of UAE President Sheikh Zaid bin Sultan al-Nahayan.

Mohammed Atta
Atta returned the surplus cash

Records also show that the man had arrived in the UAE at the end of June from Qatar.

Meanwhile, US Attorney General John Ashcroft said that almost 500 people have been arrested or detained by US authorities investigating the attacks.

None of them are being held on charges directly related to the attacks - instead, they are being detained on alleged violations of immigration law, state law or because they are considered "material witnesses".

In London, a 36-year-old man travelling to the United States was arrested at Gatwick airport, anti-terrorist police said on Sunday.

Extradition sought

US authorities are also seeking the extradition from Britain of Algerian pilot, Lofti Raissi, who is suspected of having instructed four of the hijackers in flying.

Mr Raissi denies any involvement with the attackers.

Lofti Raissi
Raissi is accused of training four of the hijackers

More FBI agents have been sent to Germany in recent days where a cell from the al-Qaeda organisation is believed to have operated in Hamburg.


In Paris Jamel Beghal, an Islamic militant suspected of trying to organise terrorist attacks against American interests in France, has arrived after being extradited from the UAE.

Information supplied by Beghal led to a series of arrests in France, Belgium and the Netherlands in the days following the attacks.

In Bosnia Nato-led peacekeepers have reportedly arrested two Bosnian and two Saudi citizens with suspected links to Islamic terrorists.

And Turkish police have detained a man they believe is Osama Bin Laden's brother and are now questioning him for possible links to the suspect in the US terror attacks.

Abdullah bin Laden, a 23-year-old student in Cyprus, was detained as he was changing planes in Istanbul on a trip from Saudi Arabia to Cyprus.

See also:

19 Sep 01 | Business
Following the money trail
28 Sep 01 | Business
Net closes on terror cash
01 Oct 01 | UK
UK freezes terror funds
30 Sep 01 | South Asia
Funding the 'heroes of Islam'
18 Sep 01 | South Asia
Who is Osama Bin Laden?
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