The United States Treasury Department named two South African cousins as al-Qaeda financiers and facilitators, ordering a freeze on any US assets they may have and banning Americans from doing business with them.
The treasury, invoking an executive order used to combat terrorist financing and money laundering activities, said Farhad Ahmed Dockrat provided funds to a trust used by al-Qaeda, and his cousin, Junaid Ismail Dockrat, helped facilitate travel of South Africans to Pakistan for al-Qaeda training.
The action ends days of speculation about the two Muslim cousins after a South African Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Johannesburg was in talks with Washington over their being placed on a United Nations list of people with suspected al-Qaeda ties.
The Dockrats have denied any links to al-Qaeda or any other militant groups.
”This designation freezes the Dockrats out of the US financial system and notifies the international community of the dangerous conduct in which the Dockrats are engaged,” said Adam Szubin, director of the treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, in a statement.
The treasury said Farhad Dockrat in 2001 provided more than R400Ã‚Â 000 to the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan to be forwarded to al-Akhtar Trust, an Afghanistan-based entity that the treasury previously designated as an al-Qaeda fund-raising arm.
It said Junaid Dockrat, a 35-year-old Johannesburg dentist, worked in 2004 via phone and e-mail with the late al-Qaeda operations chief, Abu Hamza Rabia, to coordinate the travel of South Africans to Pakistan for training at al-Qaeda camps. The treasury said Junaid Dockrat also was responsible for raising $120Ã‚Â 000 that Rabia received in the spring of 2004.
Junaid’s father, Ismail Dockrat, told Reuters last week that he suspects the US designation was the result of his son’s ”harmless” ties to two people arrested in Pakistan in 2004 and later released.
The pair, Zubari Ismail and surgeon Feroz Ganchi, were caught with senior al-Qaeda operative Ahmed Ghailani, a Tanzanian who was indicted as a conspirator in the United States for his alleged role in the 1998 attacks on US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, which killed 224 peoples.
Farhad Dockrat, who preaches at a mosque near Pretoria, last week called the allegations against him defamatory.
Their lawyer, Shaheed Dollie, told Reuters in Johannesburg on Friday that the designation was not a surprise.
”We obviously have to see what reaction the South African government has, if any, to the listing,” Dollie said. ”And we will have to see how South African companies react … If their assets are frozen in South Africa we will approach the South African courts.”
Dollie said the two men had no assets in the US and had no US travel plans. All their holdings were in South Africa. — Reuters