Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

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Press Releases

ARY Gold and Terrorist Finance
In early 2002 I wrote a story in the Washington Post outlining the role Dubai-based ARY Gold had in helping the Taliban and al Qaeda move their assets out of Afghanistan before U.S. troops took control. The leader of ARY Gold, Abdul Razzak, threatened to sue me, but the story prompted a multinational investigation into the company and the use of gold and other commodities by terrorists and transnational criminal organizations.

Because the investigation was highly classified after it was underway, I have heard little of it in recent years. But now the Asia Timesbrings news of new developments in the case. The most interesting is tying ARY and Razzak to financial network of A.Q. Kahn, the Pakistani nuclear scientist who sold nuclear secrets and technology to Libya, North Korea, Iran and others.

On Aug. 30, 2005, ARY's status as an associate member of the London Bullion Market Association was revoked. Razzak's group of ARY companies (ARY are the initials of its owner, Abdul Razzak Yacoub, and most of his companies use the name in some form) are under investigation for large-scale money laundering and the operation of illegal _hawalas_, or money transfer systems.

Razzak is a leader of the _Memons_, the descendants of low-caste Hindus in Pakistan who converted to Islam many years ago. The _Memons_ are known as businessmen. Among them and "closely connected" to Razzak is Iqbal Memon, also known as Iqbal Mirchi, who is the right-hand man of Dawood Ibrahim, one of the most wanted criminals in the world. Ibrahim is also closely associated with financing radical Islamists, and in 2003 was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as a supporter of terorism for his ties to al Qaeda.

Investigators told Asia Times that it is now up to the authorities of Dubai to take further action. This is not likely, but would be a good barometer of Dubai's seriousness in combatting terror finance.

Razzak bragged to me that his ties to the Dubai ruling elite were so close that he was the first, and one of only a few, foreigners to be allowed to own his own building in Dubai. Given the promises of the UAE to take terror finance seriously, the ARY-Razzak case would be a good benchmark to measure success or failure.
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