Italy On bin Laden Money Trail

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Italy On bin Laden Money Trail

The Associated Press, Mon 29 Oct 2001

ROME (AP) Italy is assigning more than 600 agents to follow the money trail of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network and other terrorist organizations, the Economy Ministry said Monday.

One target for the task force will be a Milan mosque, the Islamic Cultural Center, which the U.S. Treasury Department describes as ``the main al-Qaida station house in Europe.''

``It looks like money has been passing through the center, which is strange because it is a not-for-profit cultural center,'' Sandro Senatore, head of the Operations Unit and Organized Crime Office for the tax police, said in an interview.

The U.S. Treasury said the institute ``is used to facilitate the movement of weapons, men and money across the world.''

Mosque officials have denied any connection with bin Laden or al-Qaida.

Senatore's unit at the financial police coordinates investigations into drug trafficking, financial crime, contraband, terrorism, and money laundering.

He is a key member of the new Financial Intelligence Body, which will draw 600 agents from the Treasury Department, the Bank of Italy and the financial police. They are to work in coordination with other G7 governments and Italian intelligence services.

Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti said the new task force will be able to use special anti-Mafia laws and the experience gained from using them against mobsters to track down and freeze accounts linked to terrorists.

http://www.romepost.com/?action=display&article=10179544&template=include/country350.txt&index=recent

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), October 31, 2001


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