While the European Union on December 26, 2019 has added Saudi Arabia to an EU draft list of countries that pose a threat to the bloc because of lax controls against terrorism financing and money laundering, United Kingdom surprisingly is totally reluctant in initiating any action against a notorious funder of Islamic State (ISIS), who has been investing his dirty money into various sectors in the country.
The EU move against the Kingdom comes amid heightened international pressure on Saudi Arabia after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate on October 2, 2018.
The EU’s list currently consists of 16 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and North Korea, and is mostly based on criteria used by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global body composed by wealthy nations meant to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. Qatar is not included in the list despite the fact of being funding mega-terrorist outfit Hamas in Palestine.
The terrorism financing list has been updated this week, using new criteria developed by the EU Commission since 2017. Saudi Arabia is one of the countries added to the updated list which is still confidential, one EU source and one Saudi source told Reuters.
Saudi authorities did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The move is a setback for Riyadh at a time when it is striving to bolster its international reputation in order to encourage foreign investors to participate in a huge transformation plan and improve financial ties for its banks.
Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post and a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents at its Istanbul consulate, provoking widespread revulsion and damaging the kingdom’s image.
Apart from reputational damages, the inclusion in the list complicates financial relations with the EU. The bloc’s banks will have to carry out additional checks on payments involving entities from listed jurisdictions. The provisional decision needs to be endorsed by the 28 EU states before being formally adopted next week.
Britain’s surprising silence:
On January 16, 2019, a team of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Bangladesh Police, working on secret information raided the residence of a sacked officer of Bangladesh Army in Dhaka’s Baridhara DOHS area and recovered arms, explosives, detonator and ISIS propaganda materials.
According to reports published in local newspapers in Bangladesh, first of a residential building (House No.184, Road No. 2) at Baridhara DOHS area in Dhaka is owned by ISIS-funder Colonel (sacked) Shahid Uddin Khan. In 2009, Khan applied for immigration in the United Kingdom [“Visa Tier 1 [Investor] Migrant, VAF No: 511702”] along with his wife Farjana Anjum and 3 daughters under investor’s category. Since then, he and his wife, under the garb of several business establishments, such as Zumana Investment & Holdings Limited (a company incorporated in UK) has been secretly funding ISIS.
On May 22, 2011, Colonel (sacked) Shahid Uddin Khan visited Glasgow and had meeting with the top management of Cadogans – a US-UK joint venture engineering company and later a draft agreement was signed for establishment of several rental-based power stations in Bangladesh. During such meetings, Colonel [Retired] Shahid Uddin Khan falsely introduced himself as an investor from Bangladesh although he does not have any permission issued by the Bangladesh Bank for investing in any foreign country.
A jihadist outlet under disguise:
In September 2010, Colonel (sacked) Shahid Uddin Khan established a readymade garment factory in Dhaka’s Darus Salam are under the name and title of Sujan Apparels Limited. Trade License of Sujan Apparels Limited was issued by Dhaka City Corporation, Dhaka on 20 September 2010 through its Issue Number 87. The Trade License Number of Sujan Apparels Limited is 0325500. The Tax Identification Number (TIN) of Sujan Apparels Limited is 036-201-7889/CO-5, which was issued by Tax Zone-2, Dhaka and Companies Circle-5 on 22 September 2010. Large sum of money was already invested in this dubious business venture of the sacked army officer. It was later learnt, this readymade garment factory was used a tool of Shahid Uddin Khan in exporting narcotics to United Kingdom and other Western nations under the garb of export consignments of textile products. Ever since the January 16 raid at Colonel (sacked) Shahid’s residence-cum-ISIS ware house in Dhaka, his younger brother Sujan, Chief Operating Officer of Sujan Apparels Limited has gone into hiding.
Involvement in jihadist attack plots:
On the basis of statements of some of the accomplices of Colonel (sacked) Shahid Uddin Khan, Bangladeshi law enforcing agencies are looking for some documents centering Shahid’s involvement in a serious conspiracy of jihadist attacks in Britain.