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Thu 11 Oct 2007 10:39 AM

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US blacklists Saudis, freezes assets

Three Saudi nationals accused of funding Al Qaeda-linked group placed on blacklist of terrorist financiers.

Three Saudi nationals on Wednesday were accused of raising funds to back an Al Qaeda-linked group by the US and placed on a blacklist of terrorist financiers.

Abdul Rahim Al Talhi, Muhammad Abdallah Salih Sughayr and Fahd Muhammad Abd Al-Aziz Al-Khashiban have been banned from doing business with American individuals or companies and any assets belonging to the men found in the US will be frozen.

The US Treasury Department claims the Saudis are providing financial support to the Abu Sayyaf militant group in Southeast Asia, according to a Reuters report.

"These three terrorist financiers were instrumental in raising money to fund terrorism outside of Saudi Arabia," Stuart Levey, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, was quoted as saying.

"In order to deter other would-be donors, it is important to hold these terrorists publicly accountable," Levey said in a statement reported by the newswire.

The Treasury named the Saudis as "specially designated global terrorists" and said they served as significant sources of financial and other support to Abu Sayyaf.

There are over 6,000 names on the department’s list of specially designated nationals, which includes accused drug traffickers, terrorist financiers and money launderers, Reuters said.

Abu Sayyaf is one of several militant Islamist separatist groups based in and around the southern islands of the Philippines and engaged in an insurgency for an Islamic state.

The group has been accused of carrying out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and extortion in Southeast Asia.

The US Department of State has branded the group a terrorist entity and it is on list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations.

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