In another successful joint anti-terrorism action, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States haven taken steps to freeze the assets of a close bin Ladin aide. Wa’el Hamza Julaidan, a Saudi fugitive, is believed to have funneled money to al-Qaeda.
“We are hunting them down, one by one,” said Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Ambassador to the United States. “Through close cooperation with the United States, we have been able to identify the financial network that supports bin Ladin and take the steps necessary to shut it down.”
Saudi Arabia has helped identify a network of more than 50 shell companies and organizations that Osama bin Ladin used to move money around the world. The companies were located in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. A sophisticated network that weaved through more than 25 nations has been uncovered. Today, that network is virtually shut down. Since last September, Saudi Arabia has worked with the international coalition to block more than U.S. $70 million in terrorist assets.
Wa’el Hamza Julaidan served as the director of the Rabita Trust and other organizations. Osama bin Ladin and a top al-Qaeda lieutenant, Abu Zubaida, have acknowledged Julaidan as a known associate of their operations. Julaidan, who fought with bin Ladin in Afghanistan during the 1980s, allegedly provided financial and logistical support to the al-Qaeda network.
“Julaidan’s financial empire is frozen,” said Prince Bandar.
In addition to the freezing of terrorist assets and combating money laundering, Saudi Arabian law enforcement authorities have questioned more than 2,300 individuals and detained more than 200 suspects for questioning, including assumed al-Qaeda members. Saudi Arabia regularly shares intelligence with the United States, and the cooperation between the two countries has been extremely productive. The Bush Administration has repeatedly and unequivocally stated that Saudi Arabia is an active and effective partner in the fight against terrorism.
"Today's action is important in that it demonstrates the commitment of both the United States and Saudi Arabia to go after high-impact targets in our war against terrorist financing," said Jimmy Gurulé, Treasury undersecretary for enforcement.