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Cable de las conversaciones entre saudíes y estadounidenses sobre financiación del terrorismo

Funcionarios de la recién creada Unidad de Inteligencia Financiera explican a los dos altos cargos estadounidenses su misión en la lucha contra el lavado de dinero y la financiación del terrorismo

ID: 209234
Date: 2009-05-29 11:46:00
Origin: 09RIYADH716
Source: Embassy Riyadh
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno: 09RIYADH702
Destination: O 291146Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY RIYADH
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0864
INFO AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY KABUL IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L RIYADH 000716


E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/22/2019
TAGS: PREL, PTER, EFIN, AF, PK, SA
SUBJECT: SAUDI INTERIOR MINISTRY BRIEFS SPECIAL ADVISOR
HOLBROOKE AND TREASURY DAS GLASER ON TERRORISM FINANCE

REF: RIYADH 702

Classified By: CDA DAVID RUNDELL, 1.4 (b),(d)

1. KEY POINTS:

-- (SBU) Special Advisor Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and
Treasury DAS Glaser were briefed on Saudi terror finance
efforts at a May 16 meeting with Interior Ministry (MOI)
officials at the Security Forces Officers Club in Riyadh.
Holbrooke also received a briefing on Saudi counterterrorism
strategies (reftel).
-- (SBU) Saudi Arabia will join the Egmont Group by the end
of May 2009.
-- (C) Holbrooke pushed for stronger cooperation in pursuing
sources of funding for the Taliban, particularly in the Gulf
States.
-- (C) The Hajj is still a major security loophole for the
Saudis, since pilgrims often travel with large amounts of
cash and the Saudis cannot refuse them entry into Saudi
Arabia. A new Saudi law requires arriving travelers to
declare cash over certain amounts.
-- (C) The MOI is concerned about funds flowing to Hizballah
from the Saudi Shi'a community.
-- (C) The political situation in Pakistan affects MOI's
intelligence cooperation with Pakistan's ISI.


NEW SAUDI FIU PROMISES BETTER COOPERATION

2. (C) The briefing was delivered by officials from the
MOI's new Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). They said the
Saudi FIU's mission is to cooperate with all other
authorities to combat money laundering and terrorism finance,
and outlined the divisions of FIU and their responsibilities
to receive, analyze, investigate, and act upon reports of
terrorist finance activities in concert with other Saudi
financial and law enforcement agencies. The FIU had a budget
of $31 million in 2008.

3. (C) Holbrooke asked how the U.S. was working with the new
FIU. DAS Glaser said FIU cooperation will enable Saudi
Arabia to plug into the global terror finance context. The
U.S. has tested the Saudi system with three requests and has
received a good response. Glaser added that Saudi success in
rolling up domestic terror cells has had a positive impact
but the need now was to target financial donors and networks
that channel the funds to AQ and the Taliban. The daily work
of exchanging information with Saudi Arabia was going well.

4. (C) Holbrooke asked whether the relationship could be
further improved. The Saudis replied that Saudi Arabia would
join the Egmont Group by the end of May 2009. Holbrooke said
terrorists exploit the seams between countries such as
borders, free trade zones, and international networks such as
Hawala systems, and that in this respect drug proceeds were
not the primary source of funds for the Taliban; rather
private donations from the Gulf were the chief source of
Taliban financing. This indicated the need for a new level
of cooperation, he said, to address funds flowing from the
Gulf to the Taliban, AQ, and South Asian terrorist groups.
In particular, the UAE, Pakistan, and the UK must be on board.

5. (C) MOI counterterrorism advisor Major General Khalid
al-Humaydan said Saudi Arabia was working to create a
"coherent plan" on terrorist finance that included
establishing a legal basis for taking action against
financiers. The MOI had no problem targeting organizations,
he said, but preferred to go after financiers on an
individual basis: "the bad apples, not the whole barrel," he
said. With the FIU in place, he said, the MOI would be
better able to "turn leads into tangible evidence" and follow
up with counterpart authorities in other countries. "We used
to call Dubai the 'Black Hole'," of terrorist finance, he
said. Glaser agreed with the need for a comprehensive
strategy. He said he understood the Saudi approach to focus
on individuals rather than organizations, but there was
another more common model that focused on organizations as
part of a broader terrorist network.


HAJJ, HIZBALLAH, AND PAKISTAN

6. (C) MOI Senior Advisor Major General Dr. Sa'ad al-Jabri
said the Saudi approach was based on the fact that Saudi
Arabia had been in a war and had to act. Saudi authorities
had detained over 4,000 individuals, some of whom were
suspected of terrorist financing offenses and would act if
supplied with information. Hajj was still a big problem for
the Saudis, since they could not refuse to let pilgrims enter
the country. Some of the non-Saudi terrorism detainees in
Saudi Arabia had entered as pilgrims. The Saudi government
recently passed a law requiring arriving travelers to declare
cash above a certain amount, but Hajj was still "a vacuum in
our security," he admitted. Another problem was money going
to Hizballah from Saudi Shiites. The Saudis' focus had been
on funds from Sunni sources, but they needed to focus on the
Shi'a too, Dr. Sa'ad said.

7. (C) Holbrooke noted that Pakistan was also a center for
terrorist financing through Islamic charities and asked
whether the Saudis were monitoring the large Pakistani
community in Saudi Arabia, and whether the Saudis were
consulting with the governments of Pakistan, India, and
Bangladesh about the issue. Al-Humaydan said the Saudis had
detained numerous individuals from these countries and were
seeking cooperation to investigate their activities. He
added that "we talk to ISI (Pakistan's intelligence agency)
and get a good response, but we think ten times before
approaching them; things are changing there and we are
advised to be careful." Political unrest and new ISI
leadership were the principal changes, he said. As a result,
he concluded, "We only trust face-to-face transmission of
information." The MOI had shared information with ISI on
Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia suspected of terror finance, but
ISI had not responded.


DON'T FORGET IRAN

8. (C) Holbrooke asked whether the Taliban still found
support in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Sa'ad answered that support
from Saudi Arabia was less than it had been in earlier years,
such as the 1980s, but was still present. Holbrooke asked
about Iran, and Dr. Sa'ad replied that in the Saudi view,
Iran was a "serious contributor" to terrorism activities in
many places, including Yemen, North Africa, and Latin
America.

9. (C) Holbrooke concluded by assuring his hosts of the U.S.
commitment to cooperation on fighting terrorism and for
better relations with the Muslim world.

10. (U) Meeting participants

U.S.

Special Advisor Ambassador Richard Holbrooke
Barnett Rubin, Senior Advisor
Dan Glaser, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
David Rundell, Charge d'Affaires
Andrew Roth, Embassy Riyadh
Edwin Brown, Embassy Riyadh (notetaker)
Jeff Smith, Embassy Riyadh

Saudi Arabia

Major General Sa'ad al-Jabri, Senior Advisor, Ministry of
the Interior

Major General Khalid al-Humaydan ("Abu Ali"),
Counterterrorism Advisor,
Ministry of the Interior

Brigadier General Ahmed al-Issa, U.S. Liaison, Ministry of
the
Interior

Captain Bandar al-Subaie, Assistant to MG Sa'ad al-Jabri

FIU briefers

11. (U) Amb. Holbrooke cleared this telegram.

RUNDELL