I. External Financing of Harakaat al-Shabaab al-Mujaahidiin
(AL-SHABAAB) – Charity organization and a Salafist mosque In-depth study of the available intelligence and investigations of the remittance businesses, a charity organization and a Salafist mosque in the Netherlands has led to substantial number of unusual money transfers to Somalia and Kenya. The suspicious activity reports and suspicious transfer reports (SAR’s and STR’s) showed, that these unusual money transfers partly end up with the terrorism organization Hakaraat alShabaab al-Mujaahidiin (Al-Shabaab).
A. AL-FOURQAAN mosque and foundation in The Netherlands The mosque Al-Fourqaan received media attention since 2005 for its jihadist Sudanese born imam Eisha Eltayeb Bersham (a.k.a. Abu Tareq or Abu Tariq) from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
(a) The Dutch Intelligence services classified him as a threat to national security and the minister for Integration and Immigration responded by banning him from the country as an ‘unwanted foreigner’.1 Initially, a court ruled that the imam could stay, but on 27 April 2007 another higher court finally ruled Eisha Eltayeb Bersham would be banned
from the Netherlands for the next ten years.2
(b) Further investigations according to classified and secret wire cables of the United States of America Embassy in the Netherlands to the US Department of Homeland Security revealed, that another imam and member of the board of the mosque, Galal Osman Ahmed Kehil, date of birth 19 August 1966, place of birth El-Taif, Saudi Arabia of Palestinian descent, was expelled
and departed in June 2006 the Netherlands.3
(c) The third expelled imam was the Somali Kenyan national Mohamud Mohamed Mohamud, date of birth 29 December 1971 and left the country and went back to Kenya.4 Also was investigated the US Senate’s 17 July 2012 report ‘Al-Qaida List of Financial Benefactors’5 which mentioned the Al-Qaida list of financial benefactors and which list came to light in March 2002, after a police search of the Bosnian offices of the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF), a Saudi based nonprofit organization, which was also designated as a terrorist organization by the US Treasury Department and led to seizure of a CD-ROM and computer hard drive with numerous Al-Qaida documents.6 One computer file contained scanned images of several hundred documents chronicling the formation of Al-Qaida. One of the scanned documents contained a handwritten list of 20 individuals identified as key financial contributors to Al-Qaida. Osama bin Laden apparently referred to that group of individuals as the ‘Golden Chain’.7 The mentioned list of purported terrorism sponsors includes at least 20 top Saudi and Gulf State financial sponsors including bankers, businessmen, and former ministers.8 Part of the list included computer file titles ‘Tarekh Osama’ or ‘Osama History’, but the appellation ‘Golden Chain’ itself is due to Al-Qaida defector Jamal al-Fadl, who vouched for its authenticity. The US Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) later also pronounced the document as genuine. The ‘Golden Chain’ document has been discussed in the 9/11 Commission’s report, in federal court filings and civil lawsuits. Conducted investigations of the ‘Golden Chain’ – a list purported sponsors of AlQaida, that was seized in a March 2002 raid by Bosnian and Herzegovina police authorities of the premises of the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF) in Sarajevo,9 showed that:
(a) A Saudi national Adil Hamad Abderrahman Alhusayni, date of birth 29 May 1963 is the owner of Al-Fourqaan Mosque in the Netherlands.10 According to the register of the Dutch Chamber
of Commerce he is since 1 June 1991 also a member of the board of this mosque.11
(b) Further the ‘Golden Chain’ list mentions that the brother of the above mentioned owner and board member of the Dutch mosque is a Saudi national Abdullah Osman Abdulrahman Al Hussaini, date of birth 25 December 1947.12 According to the register of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce this person is since 25 September 1989 also a member of the board of the Dutch mosque.
(c) Also confirmed by the Dutch authorities is, that the mosque was under permanent surveillance of the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Services (AIVD), due to terrorist activities.13
(d) The Al-Fourqaan mosque was at that time run by several Somali and Sudanese imams who are suspected of financing Hakaraat al-Shabaab alMujaahidiin (Al-Shabaab) terrorists in Somalia.14
(e) According to the register of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce a Sudanese national is member of the board since the establishment in 1988 of this mosque, namely Imad Eldin Bakri Ismail, date of birth 12 November 1957, place of birth Tandallti, Sudan. This person also acts as an imam of this mosque.
(f) The mosque appears with several names, namely Al-Fourkaan, Al-Fourquan, Al-Fourqaan or Al-Furqan et cetera, but all are identifying the same Salafist mosque in the Netherlands.
(g) The address of this mosque and Islamic Cultural Center and Foundation is Otterstraat 2, 5622 AL Eindhoven in the Netherlands.15
(h) Further information obtained reveals that the Saudi and Sudanese board members of this mosque, Adil Hamad Abderrahman Alhusayni, date of birth 29 May 1963 and Imad Eldin Bakri Ismail, date of birth 12 November 1957 are both also board members of the Al-Waqf al-Islami Foundation affiliate in the Netherlands, which has ties with the Al-Fourqaan mosque.
(i) The registered address of the Al-Waqf al-Islami Foundation affiliate in the Netherlands is the same address as the Al-Fourqaan mosque.16 Another source mentions especially referring to the Dutch mosque: “…Prior to their arrest, the 12 men used to congregate at Eindhoven’s Al-Fourqaan mosque, a facility notorious for its radical activities. For years, the Al-Fourqaan mosque hosted seminars on Islamic law organized by the Al-Waqf al-Islami Foundation, a well-funded Saudibased organization. These courses, characterized by the extreme antiWestern views expressed, were
attended by hundreds of Islamic radicals from across Europe, including some of the planners of the 9/11 attacks. According to Dutch intelligence sources, Mounir al-Motassadeq, convicted January 2007 in Germany for his role in the infamous Hamburg cell, received funding at the AlFourqaan mosque…”.17
Investigations also reveal ties between:
(a) The Sudanese national, board member, treasurer and imam of the Dutch mosque, Imad Eldin Bakri Ismail, date of birth 12 November 1957, place of birth Tandallti, Sudan and a Kuwaiti national Abdul Moshin al-Mutairi (a.k.a. Abd al-Muhsin Zabin Mutib Naif al-Mutayri), date of birth 1 July 1973.18
(b) The Kuwaiti national is placed on the US Department of the Treasury Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN) since 19 May 2016 as a subject working for and raising funds for the Jabhat al-Nusra (AlNusra Front or Jabhat Fatah al-Sham).19
(c) The Kuwaiti national is also acting as the President of the Swiss based Islamic organisation ‘Association des Savants Musulmans’ (AMS) and visited the AlFourqaan mosque on 22 May 2016 for a meeting with the Sudanese national and imam Imad Eldin Bakri Ismail.20
(d) Also appeared that the imam of the Dutch mosque is acting as the cofounder and treasurer of the Swiss based Islamic organisation ‘Association des Savants Musulmans’ (AMS).21 Also acting on classified information from the US Department of Defense National Security Agency (NSA):
(a) Unusual money transfers with a Somali origin have been intercepted to a Nigerian national named Laolu Saraki, date and place of birth unknown.22
(b) The Nigerian national has also visited several times the AlFourqaan mosque in the Netherlands, which is confirmed by the Dutch authorities.
(c) It’s suspected and confirmed by the Dutch authorities that until this day Loalu Saraki is involved in arms trade with Hakaraat al-Shabaab alMujaahidiin (Al-Shabaab) and Jama’atu ahlis sunna lidda’awati wal-jihad (Boko Haram), just as in the past with the Sudanese militia group Janjaweed (Janjawid).23
(d) Loalu Saraki is member of an influentual Nigerian muslim and political active family.24
(e) He also has business ties with the son of the former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, Kojo Annan.25 26
(f) Both men also appeared in the revelations of the IJCC Offshore Leaks, where they both appeared as ultimate beneficially owners of off-shore companies.
(g) These off-shore companies had in the past direct ties with a Lebanese private wealth company AFREX Sal, tied to wealthy members of a Lebanese Tajideen family, who were designated by the United States of America for supporting the militant organization and Iranian backed Hezbollah (Hizbullah).27
II. External Financing of Harakaat al-Shabaab al-Mujaahidiin (AL-SHABAAB) – Money Transfer Business
“The remittance sector has been identified globally as the most frequently used way to funnel money to terrorist organizations” In-depth study of the available intelligence and investigations of the remittance businesses in the Netherlands and elsewhere in the northern and western part of Europe has unveiled a significant number of unusual money transfers to Somalia and Kenya. The suspicious activity reports and suspicious transfer reports (SAR’s and STR’s) showed that these unusual money transfers partly end up with the terrorism organization Hakaraat al-Shabaab al-Mujaahidiin (Al-Shabaab) and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da’esh).
B. RAYAN CARGO BV, TAAJ in The Netherlands and the United Kingdom
One major worldwide operating money transfer business and small payment institution, TAAJ Services (Taaj), is one of the companies that facilitate money transfers to fund terrorism organizations in Somalia.
(a) Since 2016 this company is one of the leading experts in money transfers around the world and operates with affiliates in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, the United Arab Emirates and Australia.28
(b) The affiliate of Taaj Services in the Netherlands appears with another company name Rayan Cargo B.V.29
(c) In Kenya Taaj Services has a partnership with Global Money Transfer Ltd.30
(d) The precursor of the remittance company Taaj in the United Kingdom had several different company names like Qaran Express Ltd., Qaran Express Money Transfer Ltd. and finally Horn Express Ltd., which company was dissolved in December 2015.31 32
(e) Hereafter the remittance company changed the company name in Taaj UK according to the registers of the Companies House and Financial ConductAuthority in the United Kingdom.33
(f) The British company Qaran Express Money Transfer Ltd. was in the Netherlands registered in the Dutch Chamber of Commerce as a Private Limited company since 1 May 2010 and dissolved on 12 July 2012.34
According to a Somali press release of December 2015 the possibility of money transfers from the Netherlands to Somalia was offered by Taaj.35
(a) Through an email address in the press release, it appears that the Dutch affiliate of the remittance company in the United Kingdom is part of a broader Somali business structure in the Netherlands.
(b) The address, phone numbers and email address mentioned in this press release initiated investigations into Dutch registered companies Rayan Cargo B.V., Juba Telecom 2,36 G. International Logistics B.V.,37 Mogadishu Logistics International,38 Air Ticket Company and Rayan International Cargo.39
(c) All companies until November 2017 were located at the same address in the Netherlands, namely Dordtselaan 16A, 3073 GB Rotterdam and using similar phone numbers and email addresses.
(d) The Dutch affiliate of Taaj UK in the United Kingdom is not registered as a company in the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and operates in the Netherlands as a remittance company with a UK license of Taaj UK under United Kingdom PSD legislation since December 2015.40 41 Also appears according to the register of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce42 and the registers of the Financial Conduct Authority43 and Companies House44 in the United Kingdom, that:
(a) the director and or plenipotentiary of most current or dissolved British and Dutch companies and affiliates is a Dutch and Somali citizen Omar Abdullahi Hassan, date of birth 01 July 1966, place of birth Mogadishu, Somalia. 45
(b) This person is since 2010 designated by the Dutch authorities as a financial facilitator of Harakaat al-Shabaab al-Mujaahidiin (Al-Shabaab). 46
(c) This person is since 1 May 2010 active in the remittance business in the Netherlands. 47
Furthermore it is known that:
(a) The Dutch tax authorities investigated the precursors of Taaj in 2003.48
(b) Also national investigative services investigated the Somali remittance infrastructure in the Netherlands since February 2011, in which among other things the precursor of Taaj (Qaran Express Ltd., Qaran Express Money Transfer Ltd.) was a subject of financial and criminal investigation.49
(c) In October 2017, a combined Dutch police, tax and customs agencies raid of several money transfer business companies located at the Dordtselaan in Rotterdam in the Netherlands took place.50
(d) The criminal financial investigation is still ongoing and it appears, that the above mentioned Somali business structure, includes Taaj, in or about November 2017 changed the registry address details in the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.51
(e) The current address of Taaj and other affiliates are since that moment registered at the headquarters address of the Chamber of Commerce in Rotterdam, namely Blaak 40 p/a KvK, 3011 TA Rotterdam in the Netherlands.52
(f) However the business structure is still active and hasn’t been dissolved, but is not actually established anymore at the former address after the investigative measures by the Dutch authorities of the money transfer businesses in Rotterdam in the Netherlands in October 2017.53 Between January 2016 and July 2018 financial and criminal information has shown, that money transfers and cash flows, to persons and bank accounts in Somalia, Kenya and the UAE, were related to Al Shabaab and/or ISIL and/or affiliates.
1 https://www.nctv.nl/binaries/10777_Salafisme_NL_tcm31-239080.pdf 2 https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2007/04/28/eindhovense-imam-terecht-uitgewezen-11316241-
5 https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-112shrg76646/pdf/CHRG-112shrg76646.pdf 6 https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/po3632.aspx 7
6 https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/po3632.aspx 7 http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/printgroupProfile.asp?grpid=6416
8 http://acdemocracy.org/saudi-arabia-the-golden-chain-and-the-missing-28-pages/ 9 http://investi.virtualave.net/Golden%20Chain%20Analyses.htm
13 Source: the Dutch Intelligence and Security Services
22 Source: Intelligence and Security Services (Ministry of Defense)
27 Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) 5/27/2009, 12/9/2010 (US Department of the Treasury)
33 Source: (Ministry of Justice and Safety)
34 Source: Dutch Chamber of Commerce registration number 24495736
42 https://drimble.nl/bedrijf/rotterdam/31250130/rayan-cargo-bv.html and https://drimble.nl/bedrijf/rotterdam/25305697/g-international-logistics-bv.html
43 https://register.fca.org.uk/ShPo_FirmDetailsPage?id=001b000000NMgTiAAL and https://register.fca.org.uk/ShPo_FirmDetailsPage?id=001b000000NMPY9AAP
45 Source: Dutch Chamber of Commerce registration number 24495736
46 Source: Intelligence and Security Services (Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations)
47 Cit. at footnote 18.
48 Source: (Ministry of Finance)
49 Source: (Ministry of Justice and Safety)
52 https://www.kvk.nl/zoeken/handelsregister/?handelsnaam=&kvknummer=63499975&straat=&postcode=&huisnummer=&plaats=&hoofdvestiging=1&rechtspersoon=1&nevenvestiging=1 &zoekvervallen=1&zoekuitgeschreven=1&start=0
53 Source: (Ministry of Justice and Safety).