Press Center

 TREASURY SECRETARY PAUL O'NEILL: REMARKS ON NEW TERRORIST FINANCING DESIGNATIONS


12/20/2001
Today, we are blocking the assets of a terrorist organization, UTN, and three of its directors, because they finance terrorism. But they don't threaten freedom with only their money. UTN and its directors provided more than money to al Qaida, they provided knowledge of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
 
UTN's founder was the former chief designer and director of an atomic reactor in Pakistan. He was joined in UTN by a number of other prominent Pakistani scientists, retired military officers, and industrialists. On a number of occasions, UTN delegations traveled to Afghanistan, where UTN directors met with Usama bin Laden and al-Qaida leaders and discussed nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Even after September 11th, UTN representatives sought to provide bin Laden and Taliban with still more devastating weapons of mass destruction.
 
By blocking their assets today, we aren't just freezing the money in their bank accounts. More importantly than what we catch in their accounts, we disrupt the pipelines they use to move money and to communicate. For example, last month, we blocked the assets of the Holy Land Foundation, because they raise money for the Hamas terrorist organization. Holy Land raised $13 million in the United States last year.
 
We also closed down the U.S. and overseas operations of a major financial network - al-Barakaat, from which al Qaida terrorists profited. We estimate that $25 million was skimmed from the Barakaat network of companies each year, and re-directed toward terrorist operations.
 
We are putting the world on alert that these terrorists must not have access to finances anywhere. And allies around the world are eagerly joining our effort.
For example, Canada has blocked the assets of all terrorists listed by the U.S. and UN, and has led G-20 efforts to adopt an action plan to combat terrorist financing. The United Arab Emirates took coordinated action with U.S. against Al-Barakaat, raiding offices in the UAE and blocking their assets.
 
Day by day and week by week we are building a wall between global terrorists and the world financial system they rely on. This is a long fight. We will work with our allies everywhere, keeping after this effort until there is no place on earth where terrorists can hide their money.
 
Bookmark and Share