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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Insurance giant sues Saudi Arabia for ‘funding’ 9/11 attacks that cost firm $215m

An insurance firm is suing Saudi Arabia in a U.S. court over claims that the country funded the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

A division of Lloyds of London is demanding the return of $215million compensation it paid victims by alleging that the Saudi government is responsible because it used banks and charities to support Al Qaeda.

The lawsuit - filed in Johnston, Pennsylvania, where United Airlines flight 93 crashed on 9/11, names nine defendants, including a leading member of the oil-rich state’s royal family.

Saudi Arabia has always denied claims that Osama bin Laden's organisation received official financial and practical support from his homeland.

And the 9/11 Commission’s official report on the attacks, found that there was no evidence that the Saudi government or senior Saudi officials individually funded Al Qaeda.

But the Lloyds 3500 syndicate’s 156-page legal document cites details revealed in U.S. diplomatic cables recently exposed by WikiLeaks, according The Independent newspaper.

The cables are said to show that American officials remained concerned that the Saudi authorities were not doing enough to stop money being passed to the terror group its citizens.

The legal claim suggests the defendants knowingly provided resources to Al Qaeda and acted ‘agents and alter egos’ for the Saudi state.

It states: ‘Absent the sponsorship of Al Qaeda's material sponsors and supporters, including the defendants named therein, Al Qaeda would not have possessed the capacity to conceive, plan and execute the 11 September attacks.

The success of Al Qaeda's agenda, including the 11 September attacks themselves, has been made possible by the lavish sponsorship Al Qaeda has received from its material sponsors and supporters over more than a decade leading up to 11 September 2001.

The case singles out the activities of a charity, the Saudi Joint Relief Committee for Kosovo and Chechnya (SJRC).

It was alleged by UN officials to have been used as a cover by several Al Qaeda operatives, including two men who acted as directors of the charity.

It is alleged that at the time the SJRC was under the control of Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, half-brother of King Abdullah and the long-standing Saudi Interior minister.

The claim states that between 1998 and 2000, Saudi Arabia, the SJRC, diverted more than $74m to Al Qaeda members and loyalists affiliated with its bureaus.

The Saudi embassies in London and Washington did not respond to requests for a response to the allegations in the claim.

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