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Friday, 12 October, 2001, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
US widens freeze on suspects' funds
US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill
O'Neill pledged to "deny terrorists the resources"
The US Government has extended its freeze on the assets of organisations and individuals suspected of aiding Islamic terrorism in the wake of the 11 September attacks.

The Treasury added 39 more names to its list, bringing the number to 66.

This list will continue to grow as we share information between nations and develop an increasingly clear understanding of the complex network of terrorist financing

US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill

New names include several people believed to be senior allies of chief terror suspect Osama Bin Laden and the list now covers all 22 persons on the FBI's "most-wanted terrorist" list.

The US said recently that $24m in assets belonging to Bin Laden and his supporters had been frozen worldwide, of which nearly four million was blocked in America itself.

Bin Laden is estimated to have a personal fortune of about $300m.

List to grow

The expansion of the freeze was a new step in the "financial war", Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said on Friday.

"Secretary (of State Colin) Powell and I notified all financial institutions in the United States to block the assets of 39 additional persons and entities that are either wanted terrorists or who are known to financially support terrorism," he said.

When President George W Bush announced the original list on 24 September he urged overseas banks to follow the American lead.

Apart from the suspects named by the FBI, the expanded list features persons, businesses and groups thought to have channelled money to Bin Laden or his al-Qaeda network.

Mr O'Neill said the list stood to grow even further.

"This list will continue to grow as we share information between nations and develop an increasingly clear understanding of the complex network of terrorist financing," he said.

Political gesture

The freeze on assets is just one strand in Washington's anti-terror policy which, apart from military action abroad, provides for tighter domestic security.

Measures range from the deployment of National Guardsmen across the country to the use of five Nato Awacs surveillance planes, which have arrived in Oklahoma from their German base.

German crewman aboard Awacs as it leaves Germany's Geilenkirchen air base, 10 October
There are 55 German personnel accompanying the Awacs planes

The planes are American-built, but most of the 196 personnel accompanying them are from European states.

Mr Bush has also sought to strengthen his relations with Congress, ordering the CIA to resume briefings for its intelligence committees after they were suspended last week over alleged leaks by Congressmen to the media.

The Senate has just passed legislation aimed to tightening controls against money laundering.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
President Bush talks about the terrorist threat
"Our goverment will do everything possible"
The BBC's Nick Childs
"America remains on the highest alert"
See also:

12 Oct 01 | Americas
FBI fears more terror attacks
10 Oct 01 | South Asia
Bush unveils 'most wanted' list
11 Oct 01 | Americas
Third Florida anthrax case
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