The global reach of Saudi millionaire Saleh Abdullah Kamel stretches from Osama bin
Laden to the U.S. Congress. In 2002, the alleged terror financer hired convicted
lobbyist Jack Abramoff to promote Islamic banks to federal agencies. Abramoff earned
his money, arranging for a meeting in Dubai between Kamel and Chairman of the
Judicary committee, Rep. F. James
Kamel owns Dallah al Baraka Group (DBG), a Saudi Arabia-based banking and investment company. The group operates as a holding company for Kamel’s many real estate, media, trade, industry, and finance businesses operating in about 40 countries. He’s also chairman of the General Council of Islamic Banks. Forbes estimates his net worth at $5 billion.
Kamel was listed on The Golden Chain, a list of al Qaida donors seized by the Bosnian police. In his 2002 terror financing report to the U.N., private investigator Jean-Charles Brisard named Kamel as one of the top Saudi sponsors of al-Qaida. According to Brisard, Kamal helped bin Laden start the Sudan-based al Shamal Islamic Bank to fund al Qaida operations. Kamel has also supplied funds to Adil Abdeljalil Batterjee, founder of the Benevolence International Foundation, designated a terror-financing entity by the Treasury Department.
According to press reports, classified parts of the September 11 congressional report link Kamel’s DBG to al Qaida. Saudi businessman Omar al-Bayoumi, who set up hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmial-Bayoumi in San Diego, worked for Dallah Avco, a DBG-owned company involved with the Saudi Arabia aviation authority.
Kamel was later sued by families of 9/11 victims who allege Saudi support for terrorism, most of the claims against him were dismissed on jurisdictional grounds.
DBG also invested $500,000 in BMI, Inc, a Shariah-compliant financial services company that former National Security Council advisor Richard Clarke suggests was just a front for terror financing. BMI investors include Hamas leader Musa abu Marzook and designated al Qaida financier Yasin al-Qadi. According to the Wall Street Journal, in 1999 a BMI employee told the FBI that the company financed the bombings of U.S. Embassies in East Africa in 1998. BMI also invested in Ptech, a software company investigated in 2002 for its links to terror financing.
In 2002, hoping to mitigate some of the negative publicity, the General Council of Islamic Banks hired disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff to petition the U.S. government. For two years, Abramoff lobbied 24 federal agencies including Congress, The Department of Justice, the Army, the U.S. Trade Representative, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the executive office of the president. The Council paid Abramoff’s law firm Greenberg Traurig, $200,000 in 2002 for his services. The group also hired AG Consulting Group, managed by Asim Ghafoor, for $210,000. As part of his work, Abramoff flew chairman of the Judicary committee, F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. to Dubai, where he met with Kamel.
- "The World’s Richest People, 2006,” Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/10/1FXS.html
- ”US MUST SHOW 9/11 FAMILIES THE BLUEPRINTS OF SAUDI SUPPORT FOR AL QAEDA,” press release from Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, 3/19/03.
- http://www.senate.gov/~schumer/SchumerWebsite/pressroom/press_releases/PR01566.html< /li>
- Open Secrets, lobbying filings for The General Council of Islamic Banks.
- “The dysfunctional house of Saud,” The Weekly Standard, 8/18/03.
- “Probing a Saudi Link,” Associated Press, 8/3/03
- “A Lobbyist's Progress,” The Weekly Standard, 12/20/04
- “U.S. probes terror ties to Boston software firm,” The Wall Street Journal, 12/6/02
- Statement of Richard Clarke before the United States Senate Banking Committee, 10/22/03.
- Testimony of Sen. Carl Levin before the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on Money Laundering and Terrorism, 9/26/01.
- TERRORISM FINANCING Roots and trends of Saudi terrorism financing, Report prepared for the President of the Security Council United Nations, 12/19/02.