April 12 issue – A federal investigation into the bank accounts of the Saudi Embassy in Washington has identified more than $27 million in “suspicious” transactions—including hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to Muslim charities, and to clerics and Saudi students who are being scrutinized for possible links to terrorist activity, according to government documents obtained by NEWSWEEK. The probe also has uncovered large wire transfers overseas by the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan. The transactions recently prompted the Saudi Embassy’s longtime bank, the Riggs Bank of Washington, D.C., to drop the Saudis as a client after embassy officials were “unable to provide an explanation that was satisfying,” says a source familiar with the discussions….
….Among the payments that have drawn scrutiny, documents show, were $19,200 in checks between December 2000 and January 2003 from the Saudi Embassy to an Islamic cleric, Gulshair Muhammad al-Shukrijumah. The Florida-based imam has been on the FBI’s radar screen for some time: he once testified on behalf of convicted terrorist Clement Hampton-El. The imam’s son, Adnan G. al-Shukrijumah, also known as “Jafar the Pilot,” is a suspected Qaeda operative who is the subject of a worldwide FBI manhunt. A Saudi spokesman said Gulshair al-Shukrijumah was a Saudi-funded “missionary” whose payments were terminated last year. Another area of FBI inquiry involves $70,000 in wire transfers on July 10, 2001, to two Saudis in Massachusetts. One of the Saudis wrote a $20,000 check that same day to a third Saudi who had listed the same address as Aafia Siddiqui, a microbiologist who is believed to have been a U.S. operative for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. A Saudi spokesman said the wire transfers had no connection to Siddiqui and were used to pay educational and medical expenses for Saudi families in the United States. But bureau officials say the matter remains under active investigation; a government document shows the bulk of the funds were wired to an account in Saudi Arabia….
….The documents obtained by NEWSWEEK are “suspicious activity reports,” or SARS, filed by bank auditors to alert Treasury to possible improprieties. Many may simply reflect longstanding Saudi practices, such as big movements of cash. “It’s not fair to apply American standards to this. They’re not General Motors,” said Nancy Dutton, a lawyer for the Saudi Embassy. But investigators say the embassy accounts show a large commingling of funds with Islamic charities that have been the prime target of U.S. probes….
….Other SARS may prove personally embarrassing to Bandar, the dean of the diplomatic corps in Washington who has had close ties to the White House. One involves $17.4 million in wire transfers last year from the Saudi Defense Min-istry account to a man in Saudi Arabia identified as the coordinator of “home improvements/ construction” for Prince Bandar. The funds were to build a new palace for the prince. Ali Ah—med, a prominent Saudi dissident, noted that Bandar already owns at least seven palaces and mansions around the world. “This is corruption beyond the pale,” he said. But Saudi Embassy lawyer Dutton said that government and private accounts are frequently intertwined by Saudi royals. “Just because it went through a government account doesn’t mean it’s not his personal money,” she said.
Right church, wrong pew, as we Catholic types are wont to say. As I tried to explain in Thursday’s column, Rand Paul is wrong to insist that the Sixth Amendment’s confrontation clause demands that the so-called whistleblower be unmasked and publicly questioned. That does not mean, though, that Senator ... Read More
Giuliani Associate Claims He Dangled Pence’s Attendance at Zelensky’s Inauguration to Force Biden Investigation
An associate of President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani will tell congressional impeachment investigators that Giuliani directed him to inform the Ukrainian government that Vice President Mike Pence would only attend the incoming Ukrainian president's inauguration if they first announced an investigation ... Read More
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Regis Philbin used to be associated with the question, “Who wants to be a millionaire?” But there is a new question in his life: “What kind of a millionaire wants to live in Greenwich, Conn.?” Not Regis Philbin. Philbin has just sold his family’s home in Greenwich for 36 percent less than he paid ... Read More
As Newsweek has reported, Aaron Belkin, the executive director of the liberal activist group Take Back the Court, sent a letter last week to Justices Alito and Kavanaugh demanding that they recuse themselves from the three pending Title VII cases before the Court. The reason: They met and posed for a picture with ... Read More
The Berlin Wall stood for 28 years until in 1989 a wave of citizen protest forced the East German Communist government to open its gates. We’ve now gone longer without the Berlin Wall than it existed. As we marked the anniversary, on November 9, of its demise, I couldn’t help but recall with wonder how ... Read More
I produced, engineered, and gave voice to the original talking G.I. Joe, for Hasbro. So there was a little irony when, shortly after that, I was called to active duty, in 1968. Stationed at West Point, for special training I was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, Forward Headquarters, just outside the ... Read More
By a slim margin, Washington state voters appear to have rejected the legislature’s attempt to reinstate racial preferences. (The result is still unofficial.) Both Heather Mac Donald and Peter Kirsanow summarized the history of this issue for NR last month. Essentially, a 1998 voter referendum outlawed the use ... Read More
“Can Republicans relearn how to accept political outcomes they don’t like?” What in holy hell is the Washington Post’s Paul Waldman talking about? According to the piece, Matt Bevin’s (completely legal) request to re-canvass the Kentucky election portends an unwillingness by the GOP to accept the ... Read More