US Sanctions Waleed Zein, the Kenyan accused of financing Isis

Posted by On 12:37 PM

US Sanctions Waleed Zein, the Kenyan accused of financing Isis

In Summary

  • Mr Zein is said to have moved over $150,000 through this network in 2017 and early this year.
  • Mr Zein was arrested by Kenyan police in July on terrorism financing charges along with an associate, Ms Halima Adan Ali.
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By KEVIN J. KELLEY
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IN NEW YORK

The US has imposed sanctions against a Kenyan accused of running a worldwide financial network in support of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) a terrorist organisation.

On Thursday, Mr Waleed Ahmed Zein was described by a US Treasury Department official as “a dangerous terrorist who established an intricate global network of financial facilitators for Isis, using intermediaries to evade police and fund their deadly ambitions.”

The intricate web that helped finance Isis operations spanned Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and East Africa, the Treasury Department said. Funds were sent to Isis fighters in Central Africa as well as in Syria and Libya, the US announcement added.

DEPOSITED LARGE SUMS

Mr Zein is said to have moved over $150,000 through this network in 2017 and early this year. The Treasury Department said he deposited large sums in a personal account, claiming that the money came from an automobile spare parts company owned by his father.

Mr Zein was arrested by Kenyan police in July on terrorism financing charges along with an associate, Ms Halima Adan Ali.

The two were arraigned in Milimani Chief Magistrate’s Court, where Mr Zein was charged with 10 counts of facilitating acts of terrorism.

READ: Technology complicates fight against terrorism

Magistrate M.W. Mutuku later ordered the release of Mr Zein and Ms Ali on aSh1 million bail each. They were also required to report once a month to the officer in charge of the Kenyan Police Anti-Terrorist Unit.

DENY THE ACCUSED BAIL

In a ruling on September 3, the High Court in Nairobi rejected a move by prosecutors to deny bail to the two defendants.

High Court Judge J. N. Onyiego noted that the bail application had “triggered a sharp objection from the State.”

Prosecutors argued that Mr Zein and Ms Ali were at risk of fleeing the country and that there was a likelihood of interference with witnesses.

Kenyan authorities pointed out that Mr Zein has family members in Syria and that due to Kenya’s “porous borders” he was likely to abscond.

Judge Onyiego was not persuaded by those arguments, saying that prosecutors had failed to prove that the trial magistrate had acted improperly in granting bail.

TRIAL IN COURT

The defendants “shall be released on the terms set out by the trial court,” the judge ruled.

Ms Ali is not named in Thursday’s US Treasury Department announcement designating Mr Zein as a terrorism financier.

The action blocks any financial or property interests Mr Zein may directly hold in the United States or through US citizens.


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