Saudi businessman removed from US sanctions list after 13-year fight

Sheikh Yassin Kadi announces legal victory; says he has never supported or intended to support Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda
Saudi businessman removed from US sanctions list after 13-year fight
By Staff writer
Mon 01 Dec 2014 03:59 PM

Saudi businessman and philanthropist Sheikh Yassin Kadi has been removed by the US Treasury Department from its "specially designated nationals" (SDN) list.

This development marks the conclusion of Kadi's challenges to the restrictive measures and comes after a 13 year battle which started with the imposition of sanctions upon him in October 2001, his lawyers said in a statement.

Kadi, who had already been de-listed in 2012 by the United Nations Security Council and the European Union, has always denied that he has ever supported in any manner any terrorist group.

He was informed that his assets had been frozen by a press release. He was given no reasons why his name was included either by the US or the UN. Two days later his assets were frozen in Europe by an EC regulation again without giving him any reasons.

Kadi expressed his profound relief, saying: "I am an innocent man. Whenever I have been given a fair opponunity to state my case I have been able to show that the allegations against me are untrue. Criminal investigations against me after my listing by the UN, including in Switzerland, Turkey and Albania, were all abandoned or discontinued.

"I reiterate what I have said from the outset: that in all my individual, business and charitable activities I have never supported, nor have I ever intended to support in any manner whatsoever, Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda.

"It is only due to the integrity and independence of the judges of the European Court of Justice, the highest court in Europe, and their insistence on the fundamental principles of the rule of law, that I at last had a hearing before the UN to end this gross injustice."

Carter-Ruck's International Law department, led by partner Guy Martin, with consultant Maitre Saad Djebbar, has been coordinating Kadi's challenges to sanctions on a worldwide basis ever since sanctions were first imposed on him in October 2001.

Kadi added: "I have endured thirteen years of what can only be described as a financial Guantanamo, which has caused me, my family and my businesses incalculable damage, anxiety and suffering. My only consolation is that I helped establish such an important legal precedent in the highest court in Europe, which represents the biggest block of western democracies. I hope this will continue to be of benefit to other sanctioned persons.

"Undoubtedly, the struggle against terrorism will never be won if basic human rights are ignored, if people are denied, and for so long, the opportunity to know the allegations against them and demonstrate their innocence before an independent tribunal."

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