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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 February, 2004, 21:27 GMT
New Saudi body to oversee charity
A briefcase full of money
The US asked the Saudis to tighten controls
Saudi Arabia has announced it is to set up a new agency to co-ordinate all the kingdom's charity work abroad.

The move follows Western claims that Saudi charities funded terrorism after the 11 September 2001 attacks.

A royal court statement said the new body would shield Saudi charity work from "harmful activities which might undermine it or tarnish it reputation".

Last month, Saudi Arabia sacked the head of a leading charity accused by Washington of funding terrorism.

No official explanation was given for dismissing Sheikh Aqil Al-Aqil who had run the Al-Haramain Association for many years.

Families of the victims of the attacks, in which 15 of the 19 suspected hijackers were Saudis, filed a lawsuit accusing several Saudi charities - including Al-Haramain - of bankrolling terrorism.

The Saudis initially denied that their charities were involved, but a wave of violence and suicide attacks inside Saudi Arabia itself last year forced a radical change of attitude.

Saudi charity head dismissed
08 Jan 04  |  Middle East
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15 Oct 03  |  Business
US 'failing to halt terror funding'
13 Dec 03  |  Americas
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02 Oct 03  |  Business
Saudi defends anti-terror drive
20 Sep 03  |  Middle East
UK and US freeze Islamic charity
30 May 03  |  Business

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