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Wednesday, 13 November, 2002, 22:58 GMT
US reward to combat terror funding
Dollar bills and laptop
Freezing terrorist funding has proved difficult
The United States has offered a reward of up to $5m for information which helps crush the networks that finance terrorism.

The reward is being offered for "information leading to the dismantling of any system or scheme used to finance a terrorist organisation," said Jimmy Gurule, Treasury Undersecretary for Enforcement.


Beginning today... a massive global advertising campaign to circulate information on this new programme begins

Jimmy Gurule, Treasury Undersecretary for Enforcement
The money is also available for details leading to the arrest of people planning or helping any act of terrorism against US citizens or property, he said.

The reward marks an extension of the US State Department's "Rewards for Justice" programme, which has already paid out more than $9.5m since the scheme was established in 1984.

The offer comes as US Congressional leaders hammer out a deal on the creation of a new cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security.

Paralysing financiers

"Beginning today, across the United States and around the world, a massive global advertising campaign to circulate information on this new programme begins," Mr Gurule said.

Paralysing the groups that finance terrorist organisations is one of the priorities of President George W Bush's administration.

Osama Bin Laden
Al-Qaeda is said to be still getting money from Bin Laden
In the wake of the 11 September attacks in the US, Mr Bush's government has campaigned ferociously to put a squeeze on the money funding the terrorists.

Earlier this year, the US State Department offered a reward of up to $25m for information leading to the capture of Osama Bin Laden, the leader of the al-Qaeda network.

Assets belonging to al-Qaeda and its associates, which amount to about $112m, have been frozen worldwide.

The US Government has frozen the US-based assets of 243 individuals, businesses and groups, Mr Gurule said.

However, it has proved difficult to track all of the money and in the summer experts from the United Nations warned that al-Qaeda was still gaining funds from charities and supporters, as well as Bin Laden's own personal fortune.

"These schemes to move money globally are very difficult to uncover," Mr Gurule acknowledged.

"The money trail can be very difficult to follow, and of course these terrorist financiers are looking for new ways all the time to raise money and to move money."

Security measures

On Wednesday, US Congressional leaders announced that they had reached an agreement with the White House on establishing the new Homeland Security Department.

World Trade Center under attack
The terror attacks made homeland security a priority
"Homeland security legislation will be on the House floor today," House Speaker Dennis Hastert said.

The new department was planned after the 11 September attacks to plug gaps between the government's various intelligence and security agencies.

It will pull together agents from the CIA, the FBI, military intelligence and scores of other security agencies, and employ about 170,000 people.

Legislation approving the department fell into trouble because of a dispute over labour rights, with unions protesting that workers would lack proper job protection.

But support for the department was given a boost by Republican success in the recent US mid-term election, which gave the president's party control of both the Senate and House of Representatives.


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See also:

20 Nov 01 | South Asia
08 Nov 02 | Americas
26 Aug 02 | Americas
01 Sep 02 | September 11 one year on
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