#Qatar exploiting UN Security Council loopholes to allow convicted terror financier access to significant sums

| June 21, 2019

A Wall Street Journal exposé has revealed that individuals on the UN’s al Qaeda and Islamic State financing blacklist are receiving up to $120,000 a year for ‘basic necessities’. These individuals include Khalifa al-Subaiy, a Qatari financier and resident of the tiny Gulf state, who was previously convicted of providing significant financial backing to senior al Qaeda leadership, including the mastermind of the 11 September 2001 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Speaking to the WSJ, Hans-Jakob Schindler, a senior director at the Counter Extremism Project and former adviser to the U.N. Security Council, said he would “be hard-pressed to find someone more prominent” than Subaiy “in the whole terrorism financing side.”

Subaiy, a former Qatar central-bank official, was added to the United Nations terror blacklist in 2008, though the UN publicly alleges that, despite the listing, Subaiy was able to continue to finance terrorist activities at least until the end of 2013.

In 2008, Subaiy was tried on charges of financing and facilitating terrorism in Bahrain and convicted in absentia. He was subsequently arrested in Qatar and sentenced to just six months in prison, according to the U.N. This six-month sentence was heavily criticised by former U.S. Treasury officials for its leniency.

Qatari assurances that authorities would keep a close eye on Subaiy were shown to be empty promises by later UN revelations that Subaiy has continued to finance terror organizations following his release.

Speaking of the amount of money made available to Subaiy but the government in Doha, a source with knowledge of the country’s requests said to the WSJ that “Qatar has applied for an unreasonable amount of money.”

The case of Subaiy will prompt further scrutiny of Qatar’s record of funding terrorist and extremist groups across the region. In 2015, for example, the Qatari government allegedly facilitated payments in excess of $1 billion in the form of ransom payments to terrorist organizations, with a considerable portion ending up in the hands of groups such as Kata’ib Hezbollah, a terror group believed to have orchestrated hundreds of attacks on American soldiers in recent years.

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