Saturday, June 14, 2008

US freezes Kuwait charity assets over Somali islamist's funding




The United States Treasury Department on Friday froze the assets of a Kuwait-based charity for allegedly supporting and funding Al-Qaeda, the government said in a statement.
The decision applies to the Kuwaiti headquarters of the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), and specifically to any assets the group holds under US jurisdiction. It also bars US persons from any transactions with the group.
"RIHS has used charity and humanitarian assistance as cover to fund terrorist activity and harm innocent civilians in several countries mainly Somali islamist group Called Al-Itihad, often in poor and impoverished regions," said Stuart Levey, under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
The US government applied similar measures to RIHS offices in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2002 "based on evidence of their support for Al-Qaeda," the Treasury statement said.
"At that time, there was no evidence that the Kuwait-based RIHS headquarters knew that RIHS-Afghanistan and RIHS- Somalia-Pakistan were financing Al-Qaeda. Since that time, however, evidence has mounted implicating RIHS-HQ in terrorism support activity."
The US government said that the group's senior leadership, which managed daily activities, was "aware of both legitimate and illegitimate uses of RIHS funds."
RIHS offices have also been closed or raided over suspicions of terror ties by the governments of Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, and Russia.