Standard Bank denies ties to Bin Laden

By Time of article published Sep 27, 2001

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South Africa's Standard Bank said on Thursday that it had no ties with a Sudanese bank, which has been linked to Islamic militant Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the September 11 US hijack attacks.

Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin, the chair of the US Senate's investigations committee, said on Wednesday that Sudanese Al Shamal Islamic Bank, believed to be controlled by Bin Laden since 1991, had maintained so-called correspondent accounts - some still active - with more than a dozen major banks.

Such accounts allow foreign banks to use US banks' services, effectively giving them direct access to the US financial system.

Standard Bank was among the banks listed as correspondents of Al Shamal Islamic Bank.

But Standard Bank said in a statement that it "has no links" to Al Shamal Islamic Bank.

"Standard Bank London opened a call account for Al Shamal Bank on October 23 1995. This account was opened in anticipation of a trade finance transaction, which did not materialise with the bank," it said.

"The account was never used and we closed it on March 30 2000. We have not identified any other transactions between ourselves and Al Shamal Bank, nor do we have any links with this bank," the statement added.

US President George W Bush issued an executive order on Monday freezing the US assets of 27 individuals and organisations said to be connected with Bin Laden.

- Reuters

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