Al Qaeda-linked financier loses $20 million in U.S. investments

Laura Rozen
June 24, 2011

The United States may have happened upon a clever new counterterrorism strategy: bad Wall Street investments.

Federal officials say an al-Qaeda financier with links to the late Osama bin Laden lost more than $20 million in just eight months investing via a Chicago brokerage firm, Sophie Tareen reports for the Associated Press:

"Federal officials said Abu al Tayyeb, through an associate, deposited nearly $27 million—earned from a 'Saudi Arabian-based investment scheme'—into an account with Chicago-based R.J. O'Brien & Associates in 2005," Tareen wrote Wednesday. "But because of a 'poor trading position adopted' by the associate, the money dropped below $7 million less than a year later."

Federal officials filed a civil lawsuit Sunday seeking to seize the remaining $6.2 million in Al Tayyeb's investments.

"Al Tayyeb—also identified as Muhammad Abdallah Abdan Al Ghamdi—met with bin Laden in 2000 or 2001 and others involved in the 9-11 attacks, according to the lawsuit," the AP report states. "Al Tayyeb, who also had been recruiting for al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia, allegedly gave his associate about $35 million in Saudi riyals in 2005, of which $26.7 million was invested with R.J. O'Brien, according to the lawsuit."

Al Tayyeb was arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2006.

The Chicago brokerage firm is not accused of any wrongdoing, the AP piece notes.