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US treasury, UAE blacklist alleged Yemeni Qaeda backers

Al-Qaeda allegedly used two companies to make and receive payments throughout Yemen

Published: Updated:

The United States Tuesday slapped financial sanctions on a Yemeni company and its two owners accused of funneling money to the militant Islamist group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The AQAP group allegedly used the company, known as Al-Omgy and Brothers Money Exchange, to make and receive payments throughout Yemen, the US Treasury said in a statement.

The company also recently pledged to provide AQAP with a 10 percent commission on all of its transactions.

The US imposed sanctions on the company’s two owners, Said Salih Abd-Rabbuh al-Omgy and Muhammed Salih Abd-Rabbuh al-Omgy, an alleged AQAP member.

Said al-Omgy has raised funds to support recruitment and training of Yemenis to join Iraqi insurgents, while Muhammad al-Omgy had reportedly provided weapons to AQAP, the Treasury said.

The sanctions are part of a Treasury effort to cut off financing to the group and “degrade AQAP’s capabilities to execute violent attacks,” senior Treasury official Adam J. Szubin said.

AQAP was behind a number of attacks on US and Saudi Arabian target, including in 2009 when a passenger aboard a US-bound flight tried to set off a bomb sewn into his underwear.

The State Department designated AQAP as a foreign terrorist organization in 2010.

Treasury said with the latest actions it has frozen any of the Yemeni company’s US assets and blocked any transactions with it.

The United Arab Emirates central bank also recently took steps to freeze the company out of the UAE financial system, the Treasury said.