Al Qaeda Holds $20 Million in Diamonds

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(Rapaport…October 21, 2002) The al Qaeda terrorist network converted roughly $20 million into conflict diamonds mined by Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front before the September 11 slaughter, The Observer of Britain reports.

Couriers hired by Aziz Nassour, a Lebanese diamond merchant, exchanged $300,000 in cash for diamonds every week between December 2000 and September 2001, according to European government officials.

“Given that the attacks on America cost only about $500,000, it is terrifying that al-Qaeda managed to convert $20 million of its cash into diamonds,” said Alex Yearsley of Global Witness. “The ease with which terrorist organizations can use diamonds as a source of funding and money laundering is frightening. They can easily transport them over borders without detection and convert them back into banknotes whenever they need the money.”

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