Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 July 2019

UK tax fraud cash ‘funded fugitive Al Qaeda leader’

Money from UK tax evasion and organised crime went to Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, British newspaper reports

Money from frauds perpetrated in the UK was funnelled to Osama bin Laden, according to a British newspaper report. AP
Money from frauds perpetrated in the UK was funnelled to Osama bin Laden, according to a British newspaper report. AP

Britain’s national security adviser faces questions from MPs on Monday over claims that cash from huge UK tax frauds was used to fund Osama bin Laden while he was in hiding after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

British gangsters behind highly-organised criminal activities sent about £80 million abroad that was used to fund terrorist training camps and to support the fugitive Al Qaeda leader while he was in Pakistan, according to a British newspaper report on Sunday.

Some of the details about how the money was transmitted to the terrorist network were revealed when a discarded laptop was discovered in Afghanistan by UK and US intelligence officers hunting for bin Laden, according to the Sunday Times.

It said intelligence held by British security agency MI5 suggested that some of the money from the frauds – that were said to total £8 billion – reached the compound in Abbottabad where the Al Qaeda leader was killed in 2011.

The network of British Asian gangs was investigated over a 20-year period and its members allegedly infiltrated government agencies and corrupted politicians as part of their illicit money-making activities.

Mid-ranking members of the group have been jailed but the full story of the gang has not been told because of court-ordered reporting restrictions put in place after the group’s kingpins allegedly fled to the Middle East, the newspaper said. They remain on the run.

A senior MP told the newspaper she would question the prime minister’s national security adviser, Mark Sedwill, on Monday over claims that information uncovered by tax officials was not passed on to counter-terrorist chiefs.

“The claim that information was not being shared with the security services is extraordinary,” said MP Meg Hillier, who chairs a parliament committee looking into public finances. “We really need to understand why this did not happen in this case.”

Updated: March 31, 2019 07:13 PM

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