Major "loopholes" allowing terrorists easy access to Saudi charitable funds

Washington, Dec 24 (ANI): Despite having achieved some success in disrupting funding for the al-Qaeda, Saudi officials are of the opinion that there still exist some "loopholes" through which terrorists are getting access to the charitable sector in their desert kingdom.

"There are still loopholes. It is still possible for extremist groups to use the system for their own advantage with impunity," the Washington Times quoted an official, as saying.

He further claimed that a charities commission that Saudi officials promised to establish in 2002 "hasn't started functioning yet," adding that that the proposal had "met with resistance" from some quarters of the government who feared they would have to cede authority to the new body.

Earlier this month, secret US diplomatic cables released by the whistleblower website 'Wikileaks' revealed that although U.S. officials were pleased with counter-terrorism cooperation with the Saudis, they were less happy with the kingdom's actions on the terror-financing front, especially against groups other than al-Qaeda.

"Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide," says one cable from December 2009, adding that the groups "probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources, often during Hajj and Ramadan."

The Saudi official reportedly produced a confidential assessment to Saudi officials saying that an opposition politician was linked to a complex web of organizations established by a network of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and supporters, including some that have been indicted or designated as terrorist financiers by U.S. authorities.

The assessment says that "increased diligence and efforts are warranted" to prevent further "misuse [of] the Saudi charitable infrastructure," calling the web of organizations "an example of the extent to which the Muslim Brotherhood is using moderate-seeming politicians to further its extremist agenda." (ANI)

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