Tuesday, 28 October 2008

al Harbi Notes from 2004

JEDDAH, 17 July 2004 — Saudi authorities took a wanted militant into custody after he finally arrived from the Syrian capital where he had earlier surrendered to the Saudi Embassy, according to his brother, Fawaz Al-Harbi.

Ibrahim Al-Sadek Al-Kaydi Al-Harbi, 33, who is not on the list of 26 most wanted terrorists, is the fourth militant to turn himself in under a one-month amnesty offered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd, on June 23 to extremists who surrender.

  • Fawaz said Ibrahim called the family a week ago from Damascus, expressing his desire to give himself up.
  • Ibrahim told them that he had gone to the Saudi Embassy in Syria to hand himself in but officials there had asked him to wait at his house until they made contact with details for his return to the Kingdom. After waiting for four days, Ibrahim decided to make the call and arrange everything from here.

“I called one of my friends that helped me contact Assistant Interior Minister Prince Muhammad ibn Naif, who made the necessary arrangements within 24 hours. Ibrahim handed himself in and arrived in Saudi Arabia on Thursday. I haven’t met him yet,” Fawaz said.

Prince Muhammad ordered the arrangements for Ibrahim’s return to be sped up after the Saudi Embassy in Damascus failed to deliver promptly, he said.

Al-Harbi reportedly went to Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion in the 1980s and was also in Bosnia, where he was wounded, according to his brother. He returned to Saudi Arabia before dropping out of sight in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.

Fawaz claimed his brother is not a member of Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda terror network and had no links with the extremist cells blamed for a wave of violence, which has killed some 90 people and wounded hundreds since May 2003.

Another brother, Abdul Ghaffar who worked at the Passport Department said Ibrahim had come to him in 2001 before disappearing and asked for a new passport. Abdul Ghaffar said after checking his file, he discovered that Ibrahim was wanted by security authorities and had a 10-year ban on traveling abroad.

Thirteen militants on the most wanted list remain at large, down from the original 26 when it was issued last December. The others have been either killed in clashes with security forces or surrendered, including one who gave himself up under the amnesty offer.

On Tuesday, Khaled ibn Odeh ibn Mohammed Al-Harbi, alias Abu Suleiman Al-Makki, presumed to be a top Al-Qaeda figure close to Osama Bin Laden, was flown back to Saudi Arabia after turning himself in to his country’s embassy in Iran.

Source: ArabNews

al Harbi Holding Company

Rhyadd, Saudia Arabia Based Holding Company

CEO: Ahmad al Harbi
CEO, Ahmad Al Harbi Group

One of 20 Doners listed on al Qaeda's Golden Chain List

L'Investigateur notes, "L'Houssaine Kherchtou testified on February 21, 2001, during the trial of suspected al-Qaida militants in connection with the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on 7 August 1998, that he was welcomed at Miram Shah guest house in Pakistan before joining Al-Qaida by 'Abu Ahmed al Harbi'."

(The Golden Chain -Wikipedia)

Holds Three International Companies:

  • Al Harbi Trading and Contracting Company: Oldest and International Development Company, worked on Projects Throughout the Middle East
  • DIXU International, Shanghai, China headed by Fawaz al Harbi: buys Mechanical and Electrical Equipment from China for the Saudi Market
  • Arabella - Real Estate Development Company in the Czech Republic
  • Ready Batch Concrete Company Abu Dahbi - Concrete
  • Saudi Marble and Granite Factory
  • Al Harbi Company for Education Projects -Education Consultants
  • HEMCO Electromagnetic Equipment (seems to be about water purification and Treatment and importing Chinese Hardware)

They also appear to be partnered in Several Saudi Arabian Shopping Malls

MedMeans Saudia Arabia

Med Means Trading (MMT) is a Riyadh based service medical company, two years old
  • Quality healthcare products at an unbeatable quality and price
  • To reach out our valued customer/ endorser in order to understand their needs and to mobilize all our means and resources to supply the right products at right prices at the right time an objective to help the suffering patient in his critical time of need.

    Med Means Trading

    Future Plans:

    As expressed earlier, MMT has highly ambitious plans to add more and more dedicated, efficient and result oriented professionals to its existing team in order to further strengthen and potentate this component to meet the fast growing challenges of the future markets.
We also have plans to create new departments like
  • IT,
  • Research and business development,
  • Tender department,
  • Training department
  • and many more.

In order to strengthen and enhance our activities to meet the ever increasing challenges of growing competition in the health sector. We know, we are in competition with big giants in the line, but they are the history and MMT is the future.

Negotiations are on with many world class manufacturers to add on many more lines of sophisticated, high tech medical products from all over the world. Negotiation are also underway to establish collaboration with manufacturers from all over the world in order to obtain the technique of manufacturing and the art of know-how to manufacture selected products locally to make them more economic and handy.

In tune with MMT ambitious plans of expansion, negotiation are at the final stage with a group of renounced business groups in the Kingdom for business collaboration/ association which, if capitalized will further boost its energy, accelerate its velocity, enrich its professional culture and enhance its capacity to serve its valued customers better.

Meet the Staff

Med Means Technical staff

Mr. FALEH ALI AL HARBI is currently the General Director of Med Means Trading,

a former Commercial Director of Al Harbi Holding Company (2006),

  • Executive Director Logistic Service – National Guard Health Affairs, KAMC (2004), Administrator, Logistic Service – King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center (1999), Administrative Assistant and Acting Administrator, Logistic 1987) ,)King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center Manager, Cargo Department – King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center (1982),
  • Head of Supplies – Ministry of commerce Saudi Arabia (1968), Represent of the Kingdome of Saudi Arabia in many international Exhibition in Europe, Africa and Asia as Director of Saudi Arabia Exhibition.

    NABIL FALEH AL HARBI graduated with Sales and Marketing from the Institute of Public Administration is currently the Sales Manager of Med Means Trading. He is former Shares Broker in Al Rajhi Bank (2004). And under took on-job-training in Abbott Laboratories in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia(2003).

    RAVI MENON has over 18 years career spanning in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by working in the medical field. A qualified commerce graduate from India and an Associate of the Institute of provisional Managers from UK since 1984. His expertise covers ranging from:

    - Equipping, installation and mobilization of new medical clinics and small hospitals both in private and government sectors.

    - Conducting strategy survey and how to structure and develop a feasibility study to be of maximum use any organization for medical projects.

    - Investment appraisal methodologies, evaluating appropriate technical know related to the medical disposable production.

    - Determining the size of the market and exploring its prospects and identifying the sources of market data.

    - Organize geographic distribution of target customer base and to develop the infrastructure for the sales and marketing of medical equipment and disposables.

    Source: MMT Website

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Islamic Banks to Gain Through the WEstern Financial Crisis

By Asma Alsharif

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Oct 25 (Reuters) - The global financial crisis is an opportunity for Sharia-compliant Islamic banking to further its position internationally, bankers said at a forum in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

  • Islamic banks have been barely bruised by the global credit crisis so far, although falling property and commodity prices and slowing economies are starting to affect the sector.
  • But bankers at the forum, on how the world finance crisis could affect Islamic banking, saw the sector strengthening.

"It is a must for Islamic finance to seize the opportunity that came with this global financial crisis," Ahmad Ali, president of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) said at the discussion organised by IDB.

"Global investment banks should be set up that realise the Islamic economy and offer the world a new vision and different way to manage assets, invest wealth and create products."

Sharia-compliant finance bans the receipt of interest and investments in companies dealing in alcohol, gambling and pornography.

Islamic financing deals are backed by assets, commonly real estate and commodities, due to the Sharia requirement that transactions must involve real economic activity.

There are more than 300 Islamic financial institutions worldwide and the sector is valued at about $1 trillion, just a fraction of the conventional global banking industry.

The growth of Sharia banking has been fuelled by an increasing focus on Islamic values and cash from Middle East oil exporters hungry for assets that comply with Islamic principles.
The falling oil price could affect that.

But with Muslims making up almost a fifth of the world's population, the Islamic industry was seen as offering plenty of room for longer-term growth.

"Regulation by itself is not the answer," a Saudi Islamic banking consultant said.
"Regulation is necessary but it has to be complemented by a structural change in the financial system and this is the structural change that Islam has suggested."

Saleh Kamel, a Saudi entrepreneur who heads the General Council of Islamic Banks, said the global crisis suggested Islam was the "third way" after the failure of great ideologies.

"Perhaps through this crisis, that is a great evil for the world, God will lead us to the school of moderation," he said.

"Communism has failed and capitalism failed, and only now are they starting to admit this failure," he said. (Writing by Andrew Hammond; editing by Anthony Barker)

The Rest @ the Guardian. UK

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Outflow from Pakistan Hawalas Exceeds Inflow - Study

The ‘hawala’ drain- by Ikram Sehgal

Of all the problems besetting us today nothing is more critical than the economy, particularly the rapid evaporation of our foreign exchange reserves into thin air. We were on the verge of defaulting when 9/11 made us the temporary darling of the West.

While prudent economic polices did contribute to our economic resurgence and the building up of our foreign exchange reserves, our so-called “brilliant” economic team was neither intellectually honest nor innovative, its reputation built on debt forgiveness, debt rescheduling, aids and grants and the massive infusion of foreign funding to fight the “war against terrorism.”

Shaikh Nayhan Bin Mubarak Al Nayhan sponsored a study in 2004 to ascertain why Pakistan was lagging behind in home remittances. When Shaukat Aziz was personally approached by Bashir Tahir, the CEO of Dhabi Group, the prime minister gave wholehearted support to the study. In actual practice, neither he nor his administration extended anything more than mere lip-service.

The study group headed by Pervaiz Shahid carried out physical research on the ground in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Philippines. It would have been ideal to include India, but that country was deliberately left out.

In contrast to the studied (and motivated) indifference in Pakistan, the Philippines government gave wholehearted support. 3.2 million Filipinos were registered as employed abroad in 2003, 82 percent of them women.

  • A very efficient department has representative centres in all small cities and towns in the many Islands of the Philippines. Not only giving good information about possible employment abroad, these centres requisition the services of these employed abroad when visiting home on leave to give information about conditions in the the country where they were working.
  • The Philippine Central Bank invested money in a particular software meant to disburse money instantly to the many branches of many banks on one software platform.
  • This software was given free to the banks so as to commonality. The minimum hardware requirement to support the software was laid down.
  • The banks remained open 24 hours seven days a week. If anyone remitted money anywhere in the world before midnight Philippine time, it was instantly transmitted to the account of the recipient next day. Obviously this built up trust in the home banking system for Filipinos abroad and they did not go outside the banking system.
  • The results were tremendous. $8.6 billion were remitted through banking channels home in 2003, approximately $2,700 per expatriate Filipino per year.

The department concerned with coordinating emigrants in Sri Lanka was not as efficient as that in the Philippines, but good enough for the 900,000 Sri Lankan workers employed abroad to remit $1.25 billion annually, with each Sri Lankan having sent approximately $1,400 in 2003.

The banking system is used more than hawala, and a negligible amount of money is transacted outside banking channels.

Bangladesh in 2003 had 2.3 million people sending $800 million annually, about $350 per head. Like in Pakistan, Bangladesh has a very active hawala trade outside the system.

Pakistan was easily the worst. In 2003, with 3.5 million Pakistanis abroad sending only $900 million per annum, or approximately $260 per head. This is one-tenth of what was being sent by expatriate Filipino and one-fifth of that being remitted by the average Sri Lankan.

According to available information, non-resident Indian was sending $4,000 per head in 2003.
Bangladesh has shown considerable improvement, with 2.5 million sending around $9 billion in 2007 ($3600 per head), double the amount sent by the 3.7 million Pakistanis sending $6.1 billion ($1650 per head) in 2007.

Hawala is OK as long as there is inflow, unfortunately there is greater outflow from Pakistan.

  • The hawala mafia has great influence in the Establishment, and for obvious reasons. There is so much money to go around, and the corrupt have to send their ill-gotten gains abroad, for purchase of assets and property outside Pakistan.
  • The hawala system is estimated at around $14-15 billion, which means about 8-9 percent “service charges” or “commission” of Rs5-6 for every dollar. The hawala facilitators earn about $1.2 billion, and the country loses $15 billion annually, or $45-50 million every working day.

Pervez Musharraf did not do what he, and before him Zia-ul-Haq, could have easily done through authoritarian rule: eliminate the hawala trade as Indira Gandhi did as a civilian dictator when she imposed emergency rule in India in 1975.

To eliminate the hawala trade, Mrs Gandhi jailed all hawala traders, seized all their propertes and bank accounts and the funds en route. Today the Indian expatriate on an average sends $4,000 per head annually, all through the banking system. Given the 8-9 million non-resident Indians abroad, this comes to a cool $30-35 billion annually.

This country’s exchange value has already dropped about 40 percent in the last couple of months. Before it goes into a free fall somebody must do something to prevent the outflow.

We do not have any time left, it has to be done, and now! If 3.7 million Pakistanis were to send $4,000-4,500 each annually (about $350 per month) it would amount to about $15-20 billion annually.

When foreign exchange dealers are put out of business permanently, there will be no outflow of the $15-20 billion going out presently.

If Asif Zardari really means “Pakistani Khapay,” he must mandate Shaukat Tareen to stop this illegal outflow by any means possible, and as soon as possible

The writer is a defence and politicalanalyst. Email: isehgal@pathfinder9.com

Source: The News, 21/10/2008

The Rest @ Pakistani Friends

Sunday, 19 October 2008

The Golden Chain

The "Golden Chain" or a list purported sponsors of al Qaeda that was seized in March of 2002 raid by Bosnian police authorities of the premises of the Benevolence International Foundation in Sarajevo. The list includes at least 20 top Saudi and Gulf State financial sponsors including bankers, businessmen, and former ministers. Part of the list included computer file titles "Tarekh Osama" or "Osama History", but the appellation "Golden Chain" itself is due to al Qaeda defector Jamal al-Fadl, who vouched for its authenticity; the FBI later also pronounced the document as genuine.

Most accounts are vague on what year the Golden Chain document was written; some say 1988. but US government counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke says it dates from 1989. The "Golden Chain" was presented by the United States Government case USA v. Arnaout filed on January 29, 2003 and in other legal filings, which would cause its veracity and meaning to be brought under further scrutiny.

The Rest @ Wikipedia

From a recent post at the Shimron Letters:

While the Golden Chain List been set aside in several court cases where it has been used as evidence of al Qaeda connections, even as last as 2006, this does not mean that the names and companies found on the list are not of interest in on going investigations into al Qaeda funding.-Shimron Issachar

Shimron goes on to quote an article from Free Press, but a distillation of the company and people names follow:

Saleh Abdullah Kamel.

  • Confirmation that the Bin Laden family has been a major contributor to Usama, despite its statements denying such support
  • Involvement of bankers representing the three largest Saudi banks
  • (National Commercial Bank, Riyad Bank, Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corp)
  • Involvement of former oil ministers Sheikh Yamani and Taher-Involvement of most of them in charity organizations as founders or board members

  • AL QAIDA DONORSSULEIMAN AL-RASHIDAl-Rashid Trading & Contracting (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

ABDEL QADER BAKRI (ABDULKADER [AL] BAKRI)CEO, Bakri Group of CosCEO, Al Bakri International Power Co. Ltd (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

  • CEO, Al-Bakri Shipping Group (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
  • CEO, Alkhomasia Shipping and Maintenance Company Ltd (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
  • CEO, Red Sea Marine Services (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
  • CEO, Diners Club International (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
  • Bakri Group formed in April 2002
  • a JV with the Malaysian International Shipping Corporation (MISC) to operate in Middle-East countries, including Yemen. MISC leased super tanker MT Limburg when it was attacked on October 6, 2002, coming from Ra's Tannura (Saudi Arabia).

BIN LADEN BROTHERS Saudi Binladin Group (SBG)

  • Bakr Bin Laden


  • CEO, Abdul Lateef Jameel Group (donated SR8 million to support Saudi Red Crescent Society's relief work in Kosovo in 1999)
  • Former Board member, major shareholder, Global Natural Resources Inc. (Houston, Texas)


  • Board member, Ibn Baz Foundation (President: Prince Salman, VP: Abdulaziz bin Fahd
  • Board member, IIROChairman, Al Afandi Establishment (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
  • CEO Al Afandi Germany (Frankenberg)
  • CEO, Sky Muzn Holding Co. BV (Netherlands)
  • CEO, Saudi Industrial Services Company (Sisco) with partners Xenel Industries and Dallah Al Baraka
  • Founder, Great Saudi Development & Investment Co. (GSDIC)
  • Founder, Arabian Company for Development and Investment Limited (ACDIL)
  • Chairman, National Committee of Saudi Contractors
  • Partner, African Company (Sudan), with Al Rajhi Bank and Dallah Al Baraka
  • Former General manager and shareholder of Al Amoudi Group
  • Owner, Gang Ranch (Canada), second largest ranch in North America
  • Owner, Skylight Corp, Georgia, USA
  • Owner, BSA Investments (complaint from LTV Steel Company, Inc) US address: 6914 Los Verdes Dr Apt 6, Rch Palos Vrd, CA 90275

SALEH KAMEL (SALEH ABDULLAH KAMEL) Born in 1941, Mecca, Saudi Arabia

  • CEO, Dallah Al Baraka (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) - 3rd largest Saudi company
  • Chairman Arab Radio & Television (ART)
  • Founding member and shareholder, Al Shamal Islamic Bank (Khartoum, Sudan
  • Partner, Tamlik Company Ltd (with Mohamed Binladen Co., Saleh Bin Laden)
  • Shareholder, Jordan Islamic Bank
  • Vice Chairman Bank Al Jazira Founder, Iqraa International FoundationAL-RAJHI (SULEIMAN ABDULAZIZ AL RAJHI)
  • Board member, IIROBoard member, Ibn Baz Foundation
  • CEO, Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Company (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) - 9th largest Saudi company, 4th largest Saudi commercial bank


  • Board member IIRO
  • Board member, Ibn Baz Foundation
  • Member of the Committee for collection of donations for supporting the Intifada (Chairman Prince Salman
  • Chairman First Islamic Investment Bank+300 companies
  • Al Birr donor
  • Bosnia donor


  • Founder and board member, Riyad Bank (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) - 7th largest Saudi company and 2nd largest Saudi commercial bank (Abdulrahman A. Al-Amoudi, Senior Executive Vice President)
  • Offices in Houston, Texas
  • (Riyad Bank Houston Agency, 700 Louisiana, suite 4770, Houston, Texas 77002, US
  • Board member, Beirut Ryad Bank SAL (with Prince Khaled bin Turki and Abdullah Taha Bakhsh)
  • Board member, Saudi Arabian Refinery Company (Chairman Prince Khaled bin Turki, directors include Kaaki (bin Mahfouz) and Al Rajhi)
  • Shareholder, Middle East Capital Group (shareholders include Abdullah Taha Bakhsh,

Henry Sarkissian

  • -President Saudi Binladin Group International-, Sami Baarma -National Commercial Bank-
  • CEO, Saudi Arabian Marketing Agencies and Company Ltd (Shareholder : Salem Mohammad Bin Laden)
  • Ferrari, Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen deale Shareholder,
  • Egyptian Gulf BankShareholder
  • Golden Pyramids Plaza CoShareholder
  • Savola Snack Food Co. Ltd (with Saleh bin Mahfouz and Abdullah Taha Bakhsh

MOHAMED YOUSEF AL-NAGHIAl Naghi Brothers Co (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)


  • Former COO, BCCI
  • Former CEO, National Commercial Bank, 1st Saudi commercial bank
  • Founder, Muwafaq Foundation
  • Founder, International Development Foundation


  • Board member, Ibn Baz Foundation
  • Chairman, Bank Al Jazira
  • Chairman, Savola Group (Sharbatly), merged with Azizia Panda (Walid bin Talal) - 13th largest Saudi company
  • Chairman, Makkah Construction & Development Company


  • CEO, General Machinery Agencies (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
  • Agent for General Motors, Wacker Corp, Mannesmann, Renault (RVI),
  • Opel Board member,
  • United Gulf Industries Corp, Manama, Bahrain (with Khalil Bin Laden)
  • Partner, Savola Snack Food Co. Ltd (with Saleh Bin Mahfouz, Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, Prince Mishail Bin Abdullah Bin Turki, Abdulrahman Sharbatly)
  • Founder of several scholarship funds (Berkeley, Oxford -including the Salahuddin Abduljawad Fellowship in Islamic Art History) through Barakat Trust (UK) and Barakat Foundation (USA) with Xenel Industries Ltd and Khalid Alireza

AHMAD TURKI YAMANI (AHMED ZAKI YAMANI)Born in 1930, Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Son of former Saudi Chief Justice

  • Former Saudi minister of petroleum and mineral resources
  • Former director, ARAMCO
  • Founder, Investcorp (Board members include Abdullah Taha Bakhsh)


  • CEO, Taher Group of Companies, 52nd largest Saudi company
  • Owner, Marketing General Trading Corp (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
  • Shareholder, Arab Company for Hotels & Contracting Ltd (with Ahmed Zaki Yamani
  • Former Minister of State
  • Former Governor of the Saudi state oil company Petromin, under responsibility of Ahmed Zaki Yamani
  • Former director, Saudi European Bank (Paris), held 25% of the bank shares along with Ahmed Zaki Yamani

MOHAMMED OMAR???AL KUWAIT???AHMAD AL HARBICEO, Ahmad Al Harbi Group(L'Houssaine Kherchtou testified on February 21, 2001, during the trial of suspected al-Qaida militants in connection with the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on 7 August 1998, that he was welcomed at Miram Shah guest house in Pakistan before joining Al-Qaida by "Abu Ahmed al Harbi").


  • Board member, Saudi Research & Marketing Company (with Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi, Saleh Abdullah Kamel, Abdullah Bin Khalid Bin Mahfouz, Dallah Albaraka Group) - 20th largest Saudi company
  • CEO, Al Issai Trade Company (Daimler-Chrysler representative)
  • Deputy Chairman, Arab Cement Company (shareholders include Binladin Group, Bin Mahfouz, Al Rajhi -
  • Chairman: Turki Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud)


  • CEO, Akel Agricultural Investment Company LLCCEO, Al Hussaini and CompanyBoard member of Al Waqf Al Islami Foundation (Netherlands)
  • Brother of Abdullah Osman Abdulrahman Al Hussaini,
  • General Director of Al Waqf Al Islami Foundation,
  • owner of Al Furqan Mosque in Netherlands (linked to MWL, Mounir El Motassadeq and Marwan El Shehhi
  • Family member include Walid Al Hussaini, representative of Abdullah Al Turki (former minister of Islamic Affairs, Secretary General of MWL,
  • Linked to Mohammad Zouaydi -Spanish procedure-)



Major recipients appear to be Usama Bin laden and Adel Abdul Jalil Batterjee. They receive donations from 13 donors.

USAMA (USAMA BIN LADEN)Receives donations from the most prominent in the list:

  • Bin Laden Brothers, Al Rajhi, Sharbatly, Al Naghi, Bin Mahfouz, Adel Faqih, Al KuwaitWAIL (WAEL HAMZA JULAIDAN)
  • Former Secretary General of the Muslim World League and Rabita Trust in Pakistan, designated by the United States Treasury as SGDT
  • Receives donations from Suleiman Al Rashid, Abdulkader Bakri, Salahuddin Abduljawad, Abdul Tahi Taher


  • Chairman Al Shamal Islamic Bank (Khartoum, Sudan)
  • Founder, Al-Birr Society, Benevolence International Foundation
  • Former Secretary General, World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY)
  • Receives donations from Yousef Jameel, Ibrahim Afandi, Saleh Abdullah Kamel, Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Jomaih, Ahmed Zaki Yamani and Mohammed Omar

ABU MAZIN ( ??? MAZIN M. BAHARETH)Son of Mohammed Saleh Bahareth (brother of Usama Bin Laden father's wife and tutor of the Bin Laden family after patriarch Mohammad Bin Laden's death in 1968)

  • CEO, Bahareth Organization (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
  • Shareholder, Triple B Trading GmbH (Germany) - with Hassan Bahfzallah and Shahir A. I. Batterjee,
  • Secretary: Abdul-Martin Tatari
  • Receives donations from Hamad Al HussainiSALEM TAHERReceives donations from Ahmad Al Harbi and Mohammed Al IssaiSource:

S0urce Free Republic

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Hawala 102

BY Sam Vaknin


In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the USA, attention was drawn to the age-old, secretive, and globe-spanning banking system developed in Asia and known as "Hawala" (to change, in Arabic). It is based on a short term, discountable, negotiable, promissory note (or bill of exchange) called "Hundi". While not limited to Moslems, it has come to be identified with "Islamic Banking".

Islamic Law (Sharia'a) regulates commerce and finance in the Fiqh Al Mua'malat, (transactions amongst people). Modern Islamic banks are overseen by the Shari'a Supervisory Board of Islamic Banks and Institutions ("The Shari'a Committee").

The Shi'a "Islamic Laws according to the Fatawa of Ayatullah al Uzama Syed Ali al-Husaini Seestani" has this to say about Hawala banking:

"2298. If a debtor directs his creditor to collect his debt from the third person, and the creditor accepts the arrangement, the third person will, on completion of all the conditions to be explained later, become the debtor. Thereafter, the creditor cannot demand his debt from the first debtor."

The prophet Muhammad (a cross border trader of goods and commodities by profession) encouraged the free movement of goods and the development of markets.

Numerous Moslem scholars railed against hoarding and harmful speculation (market cornering and manipulation known as "Gharar"). Moslems were the first to use promissory notes and assignment, or transfer of debts via bills of exchange ("Hawala").

Among modern banking instruments, only floating and, therefore, uncertain, interest payments ("Riba" and "Jahala"), futures contracts, and forfeiting are frowned upon. But agile Moslem traders easily and often circumvent these religious restrictions by creating "synthetic Murabaha (contracts)" identical to Western forward and futures contracts. Actually, the only allowed transfer or trading of debts (as distinct from the underlying commodities or goods) is under the Hawala.

"Hawala" consists of transferring money (usually across borders and in order to avoid taxes or the need to bribe officials) without physical or electronic transfer of funds. Money changers ("Hawaladar") receive cash in one country, no questions asked. Correspondent hawaladars in another country dispense an identical amount (minus minimal fees and commissions) to a recipient or, less often, to a bank account. E-mail, or letter ("Hundi") carrying couriers are used to convey the necessary information (the amount of money, the date it has to be paid on) between Hawaladars. The sender provides the recipient with code words (or numbers, for instance the serial numbers of currency notes), a digital encrypted message, or agreed signals (like handshakes), to be used to retrieve the money. Big Hawaladars use a chain of middlemen in cities around the globe.

But most Hawaladars are small businesses. Their Hawala activity is a sideline or moonlighting operation. "Chits" (verbal agreements) substitute for certain written records. In bigger operations there are human "memorizers" who serve as arbiters in case of dispute. The Hawala system requires unbounded trust. Hawaladars are often members of the same family, village, clan, or ethnic group. It is a system older than the West. The ancient Chinese had their own "Hawala" - "fei qian" (or "flying money").

Arab traders used it to avoid being robbed on the Silk Road. Cheating is punished by effective ex-communication and "loss of honour" - the equivalent of an economic death sentence. Physical violence is rarer but not unheard of. Violence sometimes also erupts between money recipients and robbers who are after the huge quantities of physical cash sloshing about the system. But these, too, are rare events, as rare as bank robberies. One result of this effective social regulation is that commodity traders in Asia shift hundreds of millions of US dollars per trade based solely on trust and the verbal commitment of their counterparts.

  • Hawala arrangements are used to avoid customs duties, consumption taxes, and other trade-related levies.
  • Suppliers provide importers with lower prices on their invoices, and get paid the difference via Hawala.
  • Legitimate transactions and tax evasion constitute the bulk of Hawala operations.
  • Modern Hawala networks emerged in the 1960's and 1970's to circumvent official bans on gold imports in Southeast Asia and to facilitate the transfer of hard earned wages of expatriates to their families ("home remittances") and their conversion at rates more favourable (often double) than the government's.
  • Hawala provides a cheap (it costs c. 1% of the amount transferred), efficient, and frictionless alternative to morbid and corrupt domestic financial institutions. It is Western Union without the hi-tech gear and the exorbitant transfer fees.
  • Unfortunately, these networks have been hijacked and compromised by drug traffickers (mainly in Afganistan and Pakistan), corrupt officials, secret services, money launderers, organized crime, and terrorists.
  • Pakistani Hawala networks alone move up to 5 billion US dollars annually according to estimates by Pakistan's Minister of Finance, Shaukut Aziz. In 1999,
  • Institutional Investor Magazine identified 1100 money brokers in Pakistan and transactions that ran as high as 10 million US dollars apiece.

As opposed to stereotypes, most Hawala networks are not controlled by Arabs, but by Indian and Pakistani expatriates and immigrants in the Gulf.

  • The Hawala network in India has been brutally and ruthlessly demolished by Indira Ghandi (during the emergency regime imposed in 1975), but Indian nationals still play a big part in international Hawala networks.
  • Similar networks in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Bangladesh have also been eradicated.
    The OECD's Financial Action Task Force (FATF) says that:
    "Hawala remains a significant method for large numbers of businesses of all sizes and individuals to repatriate funds and purchase gold.... It is favoured because it usually costs less than moving funds through the banking system, it operates 24 hours per day and every day of the year, it is virtually completely reliable, and there is minimal paperwork required."

(Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), "Report on Money Laundering Typologies 1999-2000," Financial Action Task Force, FATF-XI, February 3, 2000, at http://www.oecd.org/fatf/pdf/TY2000_en.pdf )

  • Hawala networks closely feed into Islamic banks throughout the world and to commodity trading in South Asia.
  • There are more than 200 Islamic banks in the USA alone and many thousands in Europe, North and South Africa, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states (especially in the free zone of Dubai and in Bahrain), Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and other South East Asian countries.
  • By the end of 1998, the overt (read: tip of the iceberg) liabilities of these financial institutions amounted to 148 billion US dollars.
  • They dabbled in equipment leasing, real estate leasing and development, corporate equity, and trade/structured trade and commodities financing (usually in consortia called "Mudaraba").

While previously confined to the Arab peninsula and to south and east Asia, this mode of traditional banking became truly international in the 1970's, following the unprecedented flow of wealth to many Moslem nations due to the oil shocks and the emergence of the Asian tigers.

Islamic banks joined forces with corporations, multinationals, and banks in the West to finance oil exploration and drilling, mining, and agribusiness. Many leading law firms in the West (such as Norton Rose, Freshfields, Clyde and Co. and Clifford Chance) have "Islamic Finance" teams which are familiar with Islam-compatible commercial contracts.


Recent anti-terrorist legislation in the US and the UK allows government agencies to regularly supervise and inspect businesses that are suspected of being a front for the ''Hawala'' banking system, makes it a crime to smuggle more than $10,000 in cash across USA borders, and empowers the Treasury secretary (and its Financial Crimes Enforcement Network - FinCEN) to tighten record-keeping and reporting rules for banks and financial institutions based in the USA.

A new inter-agency Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Center (FTAT) was set up.

A 1993 moribund proposed law requiring US-based Halawadar to register and to report suspicious transactions may be revived. These relatively radical measures reflect the belief that the al-Qaida network of Osama bin Laden uses the Hawala system to raise and move funds across national borders.

  • A Hawaladar in Pakistan (Dihab Shill) was identified as the financier in the attacks on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. But the USA is not the only country to face terrorism financed by Hawala networks.
  • A few months ago, the Delhi police, the Indian government's Enforcement Directorate (ED), and the Military Intelligence (MI) arrested six Jammu Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF) terrorists.
  • The arrests led to the exposure of an enormous web of Hawala institutions in Delhi, aided and abetted, some say, by the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence, Pakistan's security services).
  • The Hawala network was used to funnel money to terrorist groups in the disputed Kashmir Valley.

Luckily, the common perception that Hawala financing is paperless is wrong. The transfer of information regarding the funds often leaves digital (though heavily encrypted) trails.

  • Couriers and "contract memorizers", gold dealers, commodity merchants, transporters, and moneylenders can be apprehended and interrogated.
  • Written, physical, letters are still the favourite mode of communication among small and medium Hawaladars, who also invariably resort to extremely detailed single entry bookkeeping.
  • And the sudden appearance and disappearance of funds in bank accounts still have to be explained.
  • Moreover, the sheer scale of the amounts involved entails the collaboration of off shore banks and more established financial institutions in the West.

Such flows of funds affect the local money markets in Asia and are instantaneously reflected in interest rates charged to frequent borrowers, such as wholesalers.

  • Spending and consumption patterns change discernibly after such influxes.
  • Most of the money ends up in prime world banks behind flimsy business facades.
  • Hackers in Germany claimed (without providing proof) to have infiltrated Hawala-related bank accounts.

The problem is that banks and financial institutions - and not only in dodgy offshore havens ("black holes" in the lingo) - clam up and refuse to divulge information about their clients.

  • Banking is largely a matter of fragile trust between bank and customer and tight secrecy. Bankers are reluctant to undermine either.
  • Banks use mainframe computers which can rarely be hacked through cyberspace and can be compromised only physically in close co-operation with insiders.
  • The shadier the bank - the more formidable its digital defenses.
  • The use of numbered accounts (outlawed in Austria, for instance, only recently) and pseudonyms (still possible in Lichtenstein) complicates matters.
  • Bin Laden's accounts are unlikely to bear his name. He has collaborators.

Hawala networks are often used to launder money, or to evade taxes. Even when employed for legitimate purposes, to diversify the risk involved in the transfer of large sums, Hawaladars apply techniques borrowed from money laundering.

  • Deposits are fragmented and wired to hundreds of banks the world over ("starburst").
  • Sometimes, the money ends up in the account of origin ("boomerang"). Hence the focus on payment clearing and settlement systems.
  • Most countries have only one such system, the repository of data regarding all banking (and most non-banking) transactions in the country. Yet, even this is a partial solution. Most national systems maintain records for 6-12 months, private settlement and clearing systems for even less.

Yet, the crux of the problem is not the Hawala or the Hawaladars.

The corrupt and inept governments of Asia are to blame for not regulating their banking systems, for over-regulating everything else, for not fostering competition, for throwing public money at bad debts and at worse borrowers, for over-taxing, for robbing people of their life savings through capital controls, for tearing at the delicate fabric of trust between customer and bank (Pakistan, for instance, froze all foreign exchange accounts two years ago).

Perhaps if Asia had reasonably expedient, reasonably priced, reasonably regulated, user-friendly banks - Osama bin Laden would have found it impossible to finance his mischief so invisibly.

The Rest @ Behavioral Science Blogspot

Sam Vaknin is the author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" and "After the Rain - How the West Lost the East". He is a columnist in "Central Europe Review", United Press International (UPI) and ebookweb.org and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and searcheurope.com. Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia.

His web site:


Thursday, 9 October 2008

Islamic Banking: Occasional Paper, No 49 - Iran

Islamic Banking: Occasional Paper, No 49
By Zubair Iqbal, Abbas Mirakhor

Published by International Monetary Fund, 1987
ISBN 0939934825, 9780939934829
62 pages

This book was published after Post-Revoutionary Iran set in place Ismalic reforms. This is a Shi'ia approach, different set of methods of reform from the the current post 9-11 Islamic Banking pheonomenon, which is guided by Sunny economists.

Iranian Banks have somewhat different practices, and have differeing fatwas related to Haram. Therefore they do not apear to automtatically participate in Sukuks and other instruments issued by other Islamic finanace groups.

More Study is needed.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Bank Markazi Jomhouri Islami Iran

ISO Country code:

SWIFT Country code:
Central Bank:
(The Central Bank of Iran) ; Established: 1960; Bank of Note issue
Monetary unit:
Rial(IRR) = 100 Dinars
Financial centre:

Persian (Farsi)
1,648,195 sq. km.
± GMT:
+3 ½ hours

Banking hours:
Saturday to Wednesday 08.00-16.00

Public holidays:
2008:Oct 1; Dec 8,16. 2009: Jan 7,19; Feb 11; Mar 9,18, 20; Jul 20; Aug 8; Sep 9,21; Oct 15; Nov 28

Bank Markazi Jomhouri Islami Iran