Yasin al-Qadi

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Yasin al-Qadi

Yasin Abdullah Ezzedine al-Qadi (also spelled as Shaykh Yassin Abdullah Kadi or Yasin A. Kahdi) (b. 23 February 1955) is a Saudi Arabian businessman who has been described by friends and associates as a philanthropist.[1] A multi-millionaire from Jeddah, Qadi trained as an architect in Chicago, IL.[2] He is the son-in-law of Sheikh Ahmed Salah Jamjoom, a former Saudi Arabian government minister with close ties to the Saudi royal family.[3][4][5]

The UN placed sanctions against Qadi in 1999 and 2000, when he was named by United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1267 and 1333 as a suspected associate of Osama bin Laden's terror network, al-Qaeda.[6] On 12 October 2001, the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) ordered his assets in the United States to be frozen.[7][8][9] The European Union also applied sanctions to Qadi.[10][11][12] In response, Qadi's lawyers brought two lawsuits now considered landmarks in public international law, known as Kadi I (2008) and Kadi II (2010). The case for which he is best known, a 2008 decision by the European Court of Justice, Kadi I,[13] is thought to have challenged "the core framework of UN terrorist sanctions and forces UN member states to tackle difficult legal questions or else face possible collapse of the UN’s terrorist sanctions regime."[14]

Qadi's listing as a terrorist was overturned by several European courts, and his name was removed from blacklists by Switzerland (2007),[15] the European Union (2008 and 2010),[16][17] and the United Kingdom (2008 and 2010).[18][19] On 13 September 2010, Yasin al-Qadi "succeeded in having dismissed in their entirety the civil claims brought against him in the United States on behalf of the families of the 9/11 victims."[20] U.S. District Judge Daniels ruled that the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York had no jurisdiction over Qadi, who is a Saudi Arabian citizen.[20] On 5 October 2012, the UN Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against al-Qaeda granted Qadi's petition to be removed from its blacklist.[21][22] On 26 November 2014, the United States Department of the Treasury removed Qadi's name from its Specially Designated Nationals list.[23]


Early Life and Family[edit]

Present Saudi Arabia

Qadi was born 23 February 1955 in Cairo, Egypt.[24][25] His father became a successful businessman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.[2][4] He has five sisters and no brothers.[26]

Around 1977, Qadi earned a bachelor's degree in architectural engineering from Alexandria University in Cairo, Egypt,[26] and subsequently moved to Chicago, IL, where he worked for an architectural firm from July 1979 to February 1981.[2] He helped the firm develop a master plan and contract documentation for the Mecca Campus of the King Abdulaziz University.[27]

Yasin al-Qadi married a daughter of Sheikh Ahmed Salah Jamjoom sometime before 1981.[3][unreliable source?],[4][5] He and his wife have seven children,[26] including a son who is a U.S. citizen.[4]

Business and nonprofit ventures[edit]

In 1980, Qadi became a vice president of the Jamjoom Group, a multi-national conglomerate headquartered in Jeddah.[2][4][26][28] Around 1986, Yasin al-Qadi became one of the principal investors in BMI Inc., a Shariah-compliant investment bank based in New Jersey.[29][30]

Qadi inherited "several million dollars" in 1988.[4] In 1990, he began to establish close business associations with Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz, whose family owned a majority interest in Saudi Arabia's largest bank, the National Commercial Bank. Qadi said that he was brought in to maintain good financial relations with pious Muslims throughout the Islamic world, by building a more shariah-compliant banking network for the bank. "We devised systems of leasing and ways to borrow money" that could be used by pious Muslims, who are not allowed to charge interest, Qadi told the Chicago Tribune.[31]

In May 1992, Qadi created the Muwafaq Foundation, an Islamic charity incorporated for the stated purpose of providing famine relief and education in the Islamic world, particularly Pakistan.[26][32] The charity was incorporated as a trust on the island of Jersey, an off-shore tax haven located near the coast of Normandy, France.[32] Qadi personally donated about $15 to $20 million from his fortune, and solicited donations from bin Mahfouz and other wealthy Saudi families.[31] Bin Mahfouz became a principal donor but later said that he was not involved in the operation of the charity after its establishment.[33]

A similarly named organization, the "Muwaffaq Society" or "Muwaffaq Ltd.," was registered in the Isle of Man in June 1991, but Qadi denied any relationship to this entity.[26]

Plaintiffs who have filed suit against Qadi and his associates claim that Muwafaq was a charitable front used to funnel money to al-Qaeda.[34]

In 1994, Qadi helped raised the original $5 million of the $20 million used to fund a software firm called Ptech Inc., a Massachusetts-based company that was closed down in late 2003 as a consequence to the media frenzy following the consented search on December 5, 2002 by federal authorities under the auspices of Operation Green Quest.[35] The stated goal of the company was to market enterprise architecture to government agencies.[36][37][38]

In 1996, Qadi became one of the original founders and financial supporters of the Dar Al-Hekma Private College for Girls, a "path-breaking Saudi women's college" based in Jeddah.[39] At the time of the September 11 attacks, he was serving as the Secretary-General of the college.[40] Qadi is no longer listed on the Dar Al-Hekma College website.

Business activity after 2001[edit]

According to counterterrorism expert Victor D. Comras, "Al Kadi is believed to have acted swiftly after 9/11 to restructure many of his business interests and, while retaining actual control, placed many of his own assets into the hands of nominal managers and directors."[41]

Comras says that, despite his designation as a global terrorist, Qadi continued do business as

  • Chairman, Saudi National Consulting Center
  • Officer, Quordoba Real Estate Co., Inc., based in Saudi Arabia
  • Chairman, Caravan Co., based in Turkey
  • Board member, Himont Chemical, Pakistan
  • Board member, Cariba Bank, Kazakhstan
  • Vice President, M.M. Badkook Co., Saudi Arabia[41]

In 2005, the New York Times estimated that Qadi’s net worth "exceeds $65 million."[7] Another estimate calls him a billionaire, citing his extensive international business holdings.[41]

Continues to work for National Commercial Bank[edit]

Qadi has stated in court records that he was "a member of the Islamic Banking Services Committee, which was formed by the National Commercial Bank in 1997 and on which I served until December 8, 2009. This is a committee responsible for the strategic development of Islamic banking services which was chaired by the CEO of the NCB. I served on this banking committee with other senior banking officials."[42]

In other words, Qadi continued to work until 2009 for the very same Saudi bank that had been accused by British intelligence and U.S. intelligence sources of transferring $3 million in "protection money" to Osama bin Laden back in 1999.[43]

Terrorism blacklist[edit]

Tied to Muslim Brotherhood[edit]

Yasin al-Qadi is “tied to the Muslim Brotherhood,” says Victor D. Comras, one of five counterterrorism monitors selected by the UN Security Council to assemble reports for the Al Qaeda/Taliban Sanctions Committee.[41] Comras and several other counterterrorism experts have examined Qadi's business ties with leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in great detail.[44][45][46][47][48][49]

Dr. Ahmed El-Kadi (Al-Qadi), head of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States between 1984 and 1994, told the Chicago Tribune in September 2004 that his family, the El-Kadi or Al-Qadi family of Cairo, were “early Brotherhood members.”.[50]

Yasin al-Qadi’s business dealings with leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, notably Suleiman Beheiri,[51] Youssef Nada,[52] and Abdurahman al-Amoudi, were alleged in several lawsuits filed after the 11 September attacks.[53][54][55]


According to court documents, BMI was "used as a financial conduit for al-Qaeda and Hamas supporters. The FBI discovered the true principals behind BMI were actually Yassin al-Qadi and Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook."[56]

Qadi says that his investment in BMI was “passive” and “entirely innocent.” He claims that he was not aware of a relationship between BMI and Marzook.[57]

Meets with Osama bin Laden[edit]

In an October 2001 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Qadi said that he met with Osama bin Laden at religious gatherings in the 1980s, but "he said the encounters were unremarkable at a time when bin Laden's battle against the Soviets in Afghanistan attracted U.S. government support and donations from Mosques around the United States."[2]

In a December 2008 interview with the New York Times, Qadi added that he once met Osama bin Laden in Chicago. He gives the date as 1981.[7]

Intrigued by this interview, Steven Coll, a biographer of the Bin Laden family[58] tracked the story down and discovered that the date of the visit was 1979. Osama "was here for two weeks in 1979, it seems, and he visited Los Angeles and Indiana, among other places."[59]

The date coincides with Qadi's arrival in Chicago in July 1979.

Coll gives as his source a 2009 biography written by Osama's first wife, Najwa Bin Laden.[60]

1989: Meets Bin Laden in Pakistan[edit]

Yasin al-Qadi told the New York Times in 2008 that he met with bin Laden in Pakistan in the late 1980s.[7]

1991: Loan Linked to Hamas[edit]

In 1991, Qadi loaned $820,000 to the Quranic Literacy Institute (QLI) of Oak Lawn, IL, a group formed to disseminate the Koran and Muslim texts. Al-Qadi told the Chicago Tribune he made the loan because of his friendship with the literacy institute's president, whom he met at a Sunday lecture in the Chicago area.[2]

Qadi said the money was intended to allow the institute to make a land investment, which would yield profits that would support its charitable work.[2]

But the FBI alleges in a 1998 affidavit that al-Qadi laundered his money through a DuPage County real estate deal to yield $107,000 that went to a small band of Hamas activists based in Illinois.[61]

This group allegedly chose Muhammad Salah, a Jerusalem-born used-car dealer and grocery clerk living in Bridgeview, IL, to deliver the money to Hamas, a Palestinian organization that "funds West Bank medical clinics and Gaza Strip meal programs, while its website takes credit for a 'glory record' of 85 attacks against Israeli citizens and soldiers."[2]

In January 1993, Israeli police arrested Salah as he tried to cross a Gaza Strip checkpoint and held him for questioning. "They charged Salah with passing out more than $100,000 to Hamas military cells in several West Bank and Gaza cities. Israeli authorities confiscated $96,400 more from Salah's East Jerusalem YMCA hotel room."[2]

Salah told Israel he knew nothing about Hamas military activity and was distributing cash as a humanitarian activity.[2]

1993: Al Qaeda moves to Boston[edit]

In late March 1993, Newsweek reported that “virtually every principal figure implicated in the World Trade Center bombing” that took place in February 1993 has a connection to the Al-Kifah Refugee Center in Brooklyn, New York.[62]

In April 1993, the Al-Kifah charity, which had more than 30 branches in cities throughout the U.S., closed down its Refugee Center in Brooklyn and moved its operational headquarters to the Al-Kifah branch in Boston, where it re-incorporated, sharing the same website and street address as Al-Kifah's Boston office, under a new name: Care International (not connected to the large charity of the same name based in Atlanta, GA).[63]

In less than a year, two of the employees at Boston's Care International branch became employees at Ptech, Inc., a small Boston, MA software launched with money raised by Yasin al-Qadi.[38][63][64]

1998: Funds Al-Iman University[edit]

In 1998, Qadi donated money toward the construction of housing for students at Al-Iman University in Sanaa, Yemen.[65] The university’s name is also translated as Iman University or Al-Eman.

A 2010 New York Times profile of the university[66] indicates it is run by Muslims who follow Salafist practice, that is, a strict and puritanical form of Islam practiced by the Salafi (“ancestors” or first Muslims ). Al-Iman is “not a typical college,” says Glenn R. Simpson of the Wall Street Journal. “Its curriculum primarily concerns the study and propagation of radical Islam.”[67]

Al-Iman’s founder, Sheikh Abdul Majeed al-Zindani, is a leader of the Yemen chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the U.S. Department of Treasury listed him as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist associated with al-Qaeda in 2004. .”[68]

The Treasury Department has accused Zindani of “actively recruiting for al-Qaeda training camps.”[68] Zindani has been sanctioned by the UN as well.

January - August 1998: Linked to Maram[edit]

Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, b. 1958 in Sudan, an alleged founder of al-Qaeda, was arrested and extradited to the United States in December 1998

According to Glenn R. Simpson of the Wall Street Journal, Qadi's bank records show that, between January and August 1998, he transferred $1.25 million from his Geneva bank account through an associate to an alleged al-Qaeda front company in Turkey known as Maram.[69] Founded as a travel agency and import-export business, the company Maram was reportedly established by Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, said to be one of al-Qaeda’s founding members and to have a history of moving money and shopping for weapons for the organization.[70]

Heavy surveillance of Maram began when Salim started shopping for equipment that could potentially have been used to make a nuclear weapon.[70] He was arrested on 15 September 1998 near Munich, Germany.

A few months later, in December 1998, Qadi reportedly transferred shares in the company to two other men. One was Wael Hamza Julaidan, a Saudi businessman said to be a founder of al-Qaeda (the US officially designated Julaidan a financial supporter of al-Qaeda in 2002).

The other transferee was reported to be Mohammed Bayazid, another alleged founder of al-Qaeda.[70]

On 20 December 1998 Salim was extradited to the United States, where he was charged with participating in the 1998 United States embassy bombings.[71] In 2010, USA Today reported that he is an inmate of the ADX Florence facility in Florence, Colorado (reg.nr. 42426-054), sentenced to life without parole for stabbing a federal prison guard in the eye.[72]

Suspect in 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings[edit]

Aftermath of the 7 August 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya

In 1998, Qadi came under investigation by FBI Agent Robert Wright, Jr., head of the FBI's Terror Finance Unit, for potential ties to the 1998 United States embassy bombings. Wright told ABC news in December 2001, that his supervisors at FBI killed the investigation and forbid him to file criminal charges.[73]

The 1998 United States embassy bombings were a series of attacks that occurred on 7 August 1998, in which 223 people were killed in simultaneous truck bomb explosions at the United States embassies in the East African capitals of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya.

More than 4,000 people were injured.

The date of the bombings marked the eighth anniversary of the arrival of American forces in Saudi Arabia.[74] The attacks were linked to local members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, brought Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to the attention of the American public for the first time, and resulted in the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation placing bin Laden on its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.

FBI Agents Richard Wright and John Vincent told ABC News they had begun an investigation of bin Laden's connections to the embassy bombings, and their investigation led to a financial network in the Chicago area. "The agents say some of the money for the attacks led back to the people they had been tracking in Chicago and to a powerful Saudi Arabian businessman, Yassin al-Kadi."

Qadi was "one of 12 Saudi businessmen suspected of funneling millions of dollars to al Qaeda and who had extensive business and financial ties in Chicago."[73]

Wright later published the story of his frustrated investigation in a book titled Operation Vulgar Betrayal.

1999 - 2001: Ptech, the FAA and 9/11[edit]

Ptech, the Boston software firm which Yasin al-Qadi helped to fund in 1994, was a major contractor to US government agencies. According to their own business plan for Ptech’s 1999 contract with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Ptech software team began working two years prior to 9/11 to identify potential problems or weaknesses in the FAA’s emergency response plans.

Specifically, Ptech was paid by the Federal Aviation Administration to find weaknesses in the FAA’s response plans for events like the terrorist hijacking of a plane over U.S. airspace.

Suheil Laher was a Ptech's software engineer.[36] The Ptech team were “given access to every process and system in the FAA dealing with crisis response protocols.” This included examining key systems and infrastructure to analyze the FAA’s “network management, network security, configuration management, fault management, performance management, application administration, network management and user desk help operations.”[75]

Their work was overseen by Hussein Ibrahim, Ptech's vice president and chief scientist. Ibrahim was an executive of BMI Inc. In fact, Ibrahim "served as vice president and then president of BMI Inc. from 1989 to 1995,"

According to Newsweek, Qadi's lawyers conceded, in 2002, that "it is possible a Qadi representative continued to sit on the company's board until recently."[76]

Ptech’s software was running on the critical systems responding to 9/11 on 11 September itself. “The software was designed for the express purpose of giving its users a complete overview of all data flowing through an organization in real time.”

Blocked by Executive Order 13224[edit]

On 23 September 2001, Executive Order 13224 blocked 27 foreign individuals, groups and entities that the United States “has determined to have committed or to pose a significant risk of committing or providing material support for acts of terrorism.”.[77]

Yasin al-Qadi’s name appears on the list’s second tranche, a supplemental list of 39 more individuals designated on 12 October 2001.[78][79][80]

Listed as terrorism suspect by U.S., UN and EU[edit]

On 9 October 2001, the U.S. Department of Treasury sent out advanced copies of its new list of blocked individuals, prior to mass distribution to U.S. financial institutions on 11 October. An advanced copy was sent to the Swiss government’s Finance Administrator in Berne, Switzerland with a request for legal cooperation from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.”[81]

On 12 October 2001, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) officially put Qadi on its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists. His U.S. assets were immediately frozen. The decision was announced in a Treasury press release.[82]

On 15 October, OFAC sent a letter to Qadi notifying him of his listing and the asset freeze, and advising him of his rights to request reconsideration.[83]

Qadi was added to the UN list shortly afterward. Saudi Arabia "supported the addition of the Jeddah-based terrorist financier, Yasin al-Qadi, to the UN's consolidated list in October 2001," according to an official press release of the U.S. Treasury.[84]

On 20 October, responding to the UN listing, the EU added Qadi to their list and froze his assets in EU countries.

On 26 October 2001, Qadi appeared for the first time on the U.S. Federal Register as a blocked person.[85]

”Not found guilty of anything”[edit]

Yasin al-Qadi was never formally charged with a crime by the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

“As is customary in such cases, Washington has presented no direct evidence linking Mr. Kadi to terrorism,” the New York Times reported in 2008. “But it has made public a dense labyrinth of associations and business and personal ties that it says establishes Mr. Kadi’s relationship with Mr. bin Laden and his allies.”[7]

“We have not found Mr. Kadi guilty of anything,” Adam J. Szubin, director of OFAC, told the Times. “But we have found that he is a supporter of terror.”[7]

"The post-911 credo became one of pre-emption and acting on suspicion,” says Marieke DeGoede in her 2012 book Speculative Security: The Politics of Pursuing Terrorist Monies. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) uses its new powers to freeze assets "during the pendancy of an investigation," which means, effectively, that the government is able to stop the operations of charities suspected of being terrorist fronts “without any formal determination of wrongdoing."[86]

Qadi, who has repeatedly claimed that he has given no support to terrorism, told the Times that the result was a legal paradox. When no criminal charge has been brought and the evidence on which the charges are based has been classified, “there is no way to defend yourself.”[7]

December 2002: Brisard report given to UN Security Council[edit]

Expert investigator Jean-Charles Brisard presented a report to the UN Security Council in December 2002 entitled “Terrorism Financing: Roots and Trends of Saudi Terrorism Financing”[87] alleging that Qadi was “one of the main individual Saudi sponsors of Al-Qaeda.”

Al-Qadi denied the allegation as totally untrue. “I don’t have any connection, be it close or distant, with Al-Qaeda or its leader Bin Laden, either directly or indirectly,” Qadi told Asharq Al-Awsat, a sister publication of Arab News, in an interview.[88]

Legal action[edit]

December 2001: Appeals listing and asset freeze[edit]

In December 2001, Qadi filed a challenge to the EU listing and asset freeze in the European Court of First Instance (General Court). His appeal was based on a claim that he had been denied fundamental due process.[89]

On 21 December 2001, Qadi’s lawyers also petitioned the U.S. Department of Treasury (OFAC) for reconsideration of his listing and asset freeze.[89]

Turkish protection[edit]

After 11 September 2001, Yasin al-Qadi moved many of his operations to Istanbul, Turkey and Switzerland. Forbes reported that Qadi is a friend of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and that through his friendship with highly placed Turks he was able to escape sanctions while living in Turkey.[90]

Cuneyd Zapsu, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Erdogan, reportedly donated tens of thousands of dollars to Qadi, and Zapsu's mother donated "a cool quarter million dollars."[91]

Erdogan is quoted as having once said "“I know Mr. Qadi. I believe in him as I believe in myself. For Mr. Qadi to associate with a terrorist organization, or support one, is impossible.”[91]

Yasin al-Qadi had a traffic accident on 16 February 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey while travelling from Istanbul Atatürk Airport by an official vehicle with Usama Qutub (his relative and business partner) and İbrahim Yıldız (Police Lieutenant at Prime Minister’s Guard Office). After the accident al-Qadi, Qutub and Yıldız were then taken to the Bağcılar Medipol Hospital for medical treatment.[92]

November 2002: Named as a defendant in 911 lawsuit[edit]

On 15 August 2002, firefighters, rescue workers and more than 600 relatives of victims of the September 11 attacks filed a 15-count, $116 trillion lawsuit against Osama bin Laden, the Saudi Bin Laden Group, three Saudi princes, the government of Sudan, seven international banks, eight Islamic foundations, charities and subsidiaries, and many other defendants, including several individual terror financiers.[93][94][95]

Yasin al-Qadi was added to the list of defendants on 22 November 2002, along with 50 more people and organizations, bringing the total number of defendants to 186.[96][97] The amount of money sought was reduced to $1 trillion, but the number of plaintiffs soon increased to 2,500 after the suit was widely publicized.[98]

Technically, Qadi was part of the "Third Amended Complaint" in the case of Thomas E. Burnett, Sr., et al. v. Al Baraka Investment and Development Corporation, et al., originally filed in the District of Columbia by attorneys from the Motley Rice Law Firm.[99]

Informally, the case is called the "911 Lawsuit," and it is a landmark case that has been examined in great detail by legal scholars.[100] In 2005 the case was combined with several other lawsuits to become In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, MDL 1570, filed in the Southern District of New York. The case thus grew to more than 6,500 plaintiffs, collectively called "9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism."[99]

March 2004: Delisting request denied by OFAC[edit]

On 12 March 2004, OFAC issued a 20-page unclassified memorandum denying Qadi’s request for reconsideration.[101][102]

OFAC determined that Qadi played "a significant leadership role" in the Muwafaq ("Blessed Success") Foundation, as one of six trustees, and the others "delegated . . . the running and the operation of the Foundation" to Qadi, who "was the driving force behind the administration of the foundation." He "effectively conceded that he directly supervised the individual country offices."[102]

OFAC relied on Qadi's involvement in Muwafaq and, in particular, activities claimed to have occurred in Bosnia, Albania, Sudan and Pakistan, to conclude that "Kadi financially supported terrorist activities, primarily through Muwafaq, but also through other Kadi-owned entities." It considered Qadi's "relationship with and financial transfers to, designated terrorists Abdul Latif Saleh, Wa'el Julaidan, and Chariq Ayadi -- who were all involved in Muwafaq."[102]

According to OFAC's findings, "Muwafaq gave logistical and financial support to Al-Gama'at Al-Islamiya, a mujahadin battalion in Bosnia that was designated as SGDT on October 31, 2001. The organization also transferred $500,000 to terrorist organizations in the Balkans in the mid-1990s."[102]

OFAC found that Muwafaq "was involved in arms trafficking from Albania to Bosnia," and concluded that "as of late 2001, Kadi had continued to finance institutions and organizations in the Balkans after Muwafaq had ceased operations there, including two entities that were designated as SDGTs in early 2002 -- the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society's Pakistan and Afghanistan offices, and the Bosnia-Herzegovina branch of the Al-Haramain Foundation."[102]

September 2004: Files complaint against Swiss prosecutor[edit]

On 21 September 2004, the Swiss Federal Criminal Court ruled unanimously in Qadi's favor with regard to complaints brought by Qadi's lawyers against the Swiss prosecutor, Deputy Swiss Attorney General Claude Nicati. The Swiss court ordered that Qadi's lawyers be given full access to Nicati's entire file, including all notes taken by Nicati of his meeting with Jean-Charles Brisard.[103]

“Brisard is the lead investigator for the US lawyers in the civil action brought in the US courts on behalf of the families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and cannot therefore be regarded as independent,” his lawyers said. “Of particular concern to Al-Qadi was his discovery that Brisard passed to US lawyers documents he received from Nicati’s file in his capacity as expert."[104]

On 27 March 2006, an extraordinary prosecutor appointed to investigate the matter concluded that Qadi's allegations were baseless and dismissed the action brought by Qadi. The prosecutor found that "there is no indication that the person you namely denounced, M. Jean-Charles BRISARD, or any of his assistants, had communicated information covered by the secrecy of the function he should have respected in the framework of the analysis mandate delivered to him by M. Claude NICATI [Deputy Attorney General of Switzerland] at the end of February 2004 in the case regarding your client."[105]

2004: Accused of using university to launder money[edit]

In response to a 2004 lawsuit brought by 911 families against Qadi in the Federal Criminal Court of Switzerland, Qadi denied that he knowingly used Al-Iman university as a front for laundering money to al-Qaeda. Qadi’s lawyers emphasized that the paper trail shows the money that he gave to Al-Iman University in 1998 did not buy arms, but was used to supply low-cost housing to students at a religious education facility.[65][68]

September 2005: EU denies request for delisting[edit]

In September 2005, the EU Court of First Instance (General Court) denied Qadi’s appeal, saying that compliance with EU law need not be considered because the UN Security Council has primacy. Qadi appealed to the EU Court of Justice.[101]

December 2005: Wins case in Switzerland[edit]

The Federal Criminal Court in Berne, Switzerland, "cleared Al-Qadi of any wrongdoing in a case stemming from the 9/11 attacks," his lawyers announced on 12 December 2005.

The charges alleged that Al-Qadi gave money in 1998 ostensibly to construct student housing at Al-Iman University in Yemen while knowing that the funds may have ended up supporting Al-Qaeda’s plan to attack New York City.[106]

“I am very happy to know that my friend Al-Qadi has been cleared of all charges by the Swiss court,” Zuhair Fayez, a Jeddah-based architect, told Arab News on 25 December. He described Qadi as a reputable businessman and said the individuals and agencies that falsely accused Qadi of funding terrorism must be held responsible for damaging his reputation and interests.[106]

December 2007: Delisted by Switzerland[edit]

On 13 December 2007, based on the results of its own six-year investigation, a Swiss court decided to remove Qadi from its list of blocked terrorists. Arab News, a Saudi newspaper based in Jeddah, reported that Qadi was exonerated “on all charges” and said that his money in Swiss banks and the Geneva-based Faisal bank would be unfrozen.[15]

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and therefore had no obligation to comply with the EU listing.[101]

September 2008: EU Court of Justice rules in favor of Qadi[edit]

In 2008 the European Court of Justice overturned sanctions against Qadi by individual European Union governments, on the grounds the EU nations had not offered those sanctioned a chance for the judicial review of their matter.[9]

On 3 September 2008, the EU Court of Justice (higher court) ruled in favor of Qadi, “saying UN agreements cannot have the effect of prejudicing constitutional principles agreed to in the treaty establishing the European Community. The court found the EU regulation allowing listing and asset freezes to breach fundamental human rights, since no evidence was communicated to Kadi, and the right of defence and effective judicial review were prejudiced. It gave EU authorities three months to remedy these defects, leaving the sanctions in place during that time.”[101][107][108]

According to Forbes magazine, none of the bodies that have sanctioned Al Qadi have made public any of the evidence upon which the sanctions were and continued to be based.[90]

On 22 October 2008, Martin Scheinin, in a report to the United Nations Security Council, suggested greater openness and transparency for making known the reasons individuals and organizations were being sanctioned.[9] He stated:

"Leaving things as they are at the U.N. level ... is the least preferred option, as it would result in a wave of litigation and the credibility of the overall United Nations counterterrorism framework would be at risk."

November 2008: EU Commission renews listing and asset freeze[edit]

In October 2008, the EU Commission (sanctions agency) provided to Qadi’s attorneys a brief summary of the UN’s reasons for listing Qadi, and they gave Qadi an opportunity for comment. On 28 November 2008, the EU Commission renewed its listing and assets freeze against Qadi.[101]

December 2008: Partially delisted by UK Treasury[edit]

In December 2008, the UK Treasury removed Yasin al-Qadi from its list of persons designated as terrorists under its Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2001 (the "2001 Order"), but left Qadi on a second list of persons designated as terrorists under separate UK legislation, the Al Qaeda and Taliban (United Nations Measures) Order 2006 (the "2006 Order"), which contained different listing criteria.[109]

According to his UK attorneys at the Carter-Ruck firm, "this delisting followed a comprehensive review by the UK Treasury of the case against Mr. Kadi, including a review of the materials which had been used to support Mr. Kadi's original designation, after which the UK Treasury concluded that "the case against (Mr. Kadi) no longer meets the test set out in ... the Terrorism Order."[109]

January 2009: Kadi v Timothy Geithner et al[edit]

On 16 January 2009, Qadi filed suit against officers of the U.S. Department of Treasury (OFAC) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Yassin Abdullah Kadi v. Timothy Geithner et al., Civil Action No. 09-0108; and Kadi v. Paulson et al., a request for agency decision review assigned to Judge John D. Bates, Case 28-1331).[110][111]

The lawsuit and request for agency review challenged Qadi’s designation as a terrorist and the asset freeze. Qadi raised “constitutional claims regarding due process, free speech, and protection from unreasonable seizure of assets.”[112]

February 2009: Second challenge to EU listing and EU freeze[edit]

In February 2009, Qadi filed a new lawsuit with the EU General Court (formerly the Court of First Instance), challenging the EU’s 28 November 2008 decision to renew his listing and assets freeze.[101]

August 2009: UN clarifies reasons for listing Qadi[edit]

On 13 August 2009, the United Nations Security Council Committee concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities (the "Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee") posted additional information and a narrative summary of their reasons for listing Yasin Abdullah Ezzeddine Qadi.[113][114] The reasons included:

  • Al-Qadi's acknowledgement of his role as founding trustee and director of the actions of the Muwafaq Foundation, a foundation which historically operated under the umbrella of the Makhtab al-Khidamat, an organization which was the predecessor of Al-Qaida and which was founded by Usama bin Ladin
  • Al-Qadi's decision in 1992 to hire Shafiq ben Mohamed ben Mohamed al-Ayadi as head the European offices of the Muwafaq Foundation
  • The 1995 testimony of Talad Fuad Kassem, who said that the Muwafaq Foundation had provided logistical and financial support for a fighters’ battalion in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that the Muwafaq Foundation was involved in providing financial support for terrorist activities of the fighters, as well as arms trafficking from Albania to Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Al-Qadi's role as a major shareholder in the now closed Sarajevo-based Depositna Banka, where planning sessions for an attack against a United States facility in Saudi Arabia may have taken place
  • Al-Qadi's ownership of several firms in Albania which funneled money to extremists or employed extremists in positions where they controlled the firm’s funds
  • Evidence that Bin Laden provided the working capital for up to five of al-Qadi’s companies in Albania.

Based on these reasons, the U.N. Security Council resolved to continue listing Yasin al-Qadi as a suspected supporter of al-Qaeda terrorists and the United States Department of Treasury has continued to classify Qadi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

January 2010: UK Supreme Court delists Qadi[edit]

On 27 January 2010, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (the highest appellate court for the UK) annulled the listing criteria of "the 2006 Order," the Al Qaeda and Taliban (United Nations Measures) Order 2006. In 2010, in the case of Her Majesty's Treasury v Ahmed[115] the UK Supreme Court struck down the operative part of the legislation, and ruled that it must be quashed as being ultra vires, or beyond the powers of the government which were conferred under the UK's United Nations Act 1946, which allowed the UK to implement UN Security Council Resolutions.[109][116]

Thus Qadi's removal from a second UK list of persons designated as terrorists "was done as the result of the finding of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom that any such designation (as was done in Mr. Kadi's case in contravention of his fundamental rights) was illegal."[109]

September 2010: EU Court rules in Qadi’s favor, faults UN procedures[edit]

On 30 September 2010, the EU General Court once again ruled in favor of Qadi, "noting that the UN procedure, despite improvements in the establishment of an Ombudsman Office to make recommendations on delisting requests, lacks fundamental due process protections, including sufficient notice of the charges and denying ‘most minimal access to the evidence against him.’" It said: “In essence the Security Council has still not deemed it appropriate to establish an independent and impartial body responsible for hearing ... decisions taken by the Sanctions Committee.” (Paragraph 128).[101]

According to Qadi's solicitors at the Carter-Ruck firm, the ruling had the effect of striking down the European asset-freezing regulation that was imposed on Qadi on 28 November 2008, after Qadi had won his appeal to the European Court of Justice.[16]

8 September 2011: Sued by Lloyd's for 'funding 9/11 attacks'[edit]

Qadi was among nine defendants sued by the Lloyd's of London insurance syndicate on 8 September 2011 in a "landmark legal case against Saudi Arabia, accusing the kingdom of indirectly funding al-Qa'ida and demanding the repayment of £136m [$215 million] it paid out to victims of the 9/11 attacks."[117][118][119]

Formally titled Underwriting Members of Lloyd's Syndicate 3500 v. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia et al., the civil suit was filed in Pittsburgh (the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania)[43] by attorney Steven Cozen of Cozen O'Connor.[120]

“Absent the sponsorship of al Qaeda’s material sponsors and supporters, including the defendants named herein, al Qaeda would not have possessed the capacity to conceive, plan and execute the September 11th attacks,” according to the 154-page complaint.[121]

Yasin al-Qadi is listed along with the following defendants:

March 2012: U.S. Judge Denies Qadi's motion to remove his name[edit]

On 19 March 2012, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed Qadi’s 2009 lawsuit against the officers of the U.S. Department of Treasury (OFAC). Judge John D. Bates brushed off Kadi's claim that OFAC "simply ignored" his explanation that Muwafaq was an organization engaged in charitable activities. Kadi had said the government believes Muwafaq is a front for bin Laden because USA Today reported that. "To the extent Kadi contends that newspaper articles cannot be relied upon by the government at all, that proposition is not well-grounded," Bates wrote. "As already stated, reliance on hearsay is plainly allowed. Furthermore, reliance on newspaper articles has been permitted to 'fill in evidentiary gaps when there is corroboration,' as well as to provide background information." Bates explained in his judgement.[127]

Judge Bates cited that "the Court finds that this claim must be dismissed because (1) the bill of attainder clause does not apply to acts taken by a regulatory agency and (2) even if it did, the clause is not triggered here, because there was no action constituting "punishment." [128]

October 2012: UN Security Council removed Qadi's from terrorist list[edit]

The U.N. Security Council created an independent ombudsman in 2009 to handle requests to get off the blacklist. The decision to delist al Qadi came following his request for removal, according to UN statement.

It stated that "after concluding its consideration of the delisting request submitted by this individual through the Ombudsperson established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1904 (2009), and after considering the Comprehensive Report of the Ombudsperson on this delisting request. Therefore, the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo set out in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 1989 (2011) no longer apply to the following individual." [129]

September 2014: US Unblocks Property and Interests[edit]

On September 11, 2014, OFAC unblocked the property and interests in property of Yasin Abdullah Ezzedine Al-Qadi pursuant to E.O. 13224, “Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions With Persons Who Commit, Threaten To Commit, or Support Terrorism.” [130]


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Cited in Footnotes

  • Blackburn, Chris "Jamaat-i-Islam: A Threat to Bangladesh?" Secular Voice of Bangladesh website
  • Gerth, Jeff and Judith Miller, "On The List: Philanthropist or Fount of Funds for Terrorists?" New York Times, 13 October 2001
  • Jackson, David et al. "U.S.: Money Trail Leads to Saudi," Chicago Tribune, 29 October 2001
  • Johnson, Jeff "Whistleblower Complains of FBI Obstruction," CNS News, 30 May 2002, APFN.org website
  • Morais, Richard C., and Denet C. Tezel (2008-01-24). "The Al Qadi Affair". Forbes magazine. Retrieved 2008-10-23. mirror
  • Simpson, Glenn R. "Well Connected, A Saudi Mogul Skirts Sanctions," Wall Street Journal, 29 August 2007
  • Thomas Jr., Landon "A Wealthy Saudi Mired in Limbo Over an Accusation of Terrorism," New York Times, 12 December 2008
  • Who's Who in the Arab World: 1981-1982 (University of Michigan: Publitec, 1981) p. 820

Additional References

  • Bascio, Patrick, Defeating Islamic Terrorism: An Alternative Strategy (Branden Books, 2007) p. 50-51
  • Brisard, Jean-Charles and Guillaume Dasquié. Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for Bin Laden (New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002)
  • Comras, Victor D. Flawed Diplomacy: The United Nations and the War on Terrorism

(Potomac Books Inc., 2010) p. 98

  • DeGoede, Marieke. Speculative Security: The Politics of Pursuing Terrorist Monies

(University of Minnesota Press, 2012) p. 133 ff.

  • Levitt, Matthew. Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (Yale

University Press, 2007), p. 168

  • Posner, Gerald. Secrets of the Kingdom: The Inside Story of the Saudi-U.S. Connection (New York: Random House, 2005).
  • Powis, Robert E. The Money Launderers. (Chicago: Probis Publishing Company, 1992).
  • Randal, Jonathan. Osama: The Making of a Terrorist (New York: Vintage Books, 2004).
  • Rubin, Barry. Guide to Islamist Movements (M.E. Sharpe, 2009). Vol. 1, p. 127
  • Truell, Peter and Larry Gurwin. False Profits: The Inside Story of BCCI, The World's Most Corrupt Financial Empire (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1992)

External links[edit]