The suppression by libel tourism of Alms for Jihad is only the latest chapter in a saga of lawsuit abuse by Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz, personal banker to the Saudi royal family, former CEO of the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia and the unindicted, former Chief Operating Officer of of BCCI (Bank of Credit and Commerce International), the international criminal bank (for how he got out of BCCI without being criminally charged, see below).
Some background on BCCI will be useful as it will shed light on Mahfouz’s character. The US Senate Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations “The BCCI Affair” by Senators John Kerry and Hank Brown begins with these paragraphs:
BCCI’s unique criminal structure — an elaborate corporate spider-web with BCCI’s founder, Agha Hasan Abedi and his assistant, Swaleh Naqvi, in the middle — was an essential component of its spectacular growth, and a guarantee of its eventual collapse. The structure was conceived by Abedi and managed by Naqvi for the specific purpose of evading regulation or control by governments. It functioned to frustrate the full understanding of BCCI’s operations by anyone.
Unlike any ordinary bank, BCCI was from its earliest days made up of multiplying layers of entities, related to one another through an impenetrable series of holding companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, banks-within-banks, insider dealings and nominee relationships. By fracturing corporate structure, record keeping, regulatory review, and audits, the complex BCCI family of entities created by Abedi was able to evade ordinary legal restrictions on the movement of capital and goods as a matter of daily practice and routine. In creating BCCI as a vehicle fundamentally free of government control, Abedi developed in BCCI an ideal mechanism for facilitating illicit activity by others, including such activity by officials of many of the governments whose laws BCCI was breaking.
BCCI’s criminality included fraud by BCCI and BCCI customers involving billions of dollars; money laundering in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas; BCCI’s bribery of officials in most of those locations; support of terrorism, arms trafficking, and the sale of nuclear technologies; management of prostitution; the commission and facilitation of income tax evasion, smuggling, and illegal immigration; illicit purchases of banks and real estate; and a panoply of financial crimes limited only by the imagination of its officers and customers.
Among BCCI’s principal mechanisms for committing crimes were its use of shell corporations and bank confidentiality and secrecy havens; layering of its corporate structure; its use of front-men and nominees, guarantees and buy-back arrangements; back-to-back financial documentation among BCCI controlled entities, kick-backs and bribes, the intimidation of witnesses, and the retention of well-placed insiders to discourage governmental action. [link]
Alyssa A. Lappen wrote an article in FrontPage magazine on 7/18/2005 that recounts Mahfouz’s role in the end of the BCCI affair.
Bin Mahfouz is no stranger to U.S. courts of criminal law. In 1992, for example, he paid $225 million (including a $37 million fine) to escape criminal charges in New York involving his role as chief operating officer of the shuttered Bank of Credit and Commerce International. Its New York and London branches were closed, and BCCI was implicated by the Central Intelligence Agency for laundering drug money and supporting international terrorists. In settling, Bin Mahfouz admitted no wrongdoing.
This article continues to describe Mahfouz’s modus operandi.
Nevertheless, in October 2001, according to former national security advisor Richard Clarke, the U.S. Treasury Department listed Yasin al Qadi as a designated terrorist for his financial support of al Qaeda. Qadi headed Muwafaq, a Saudi “relief organization” that Clarke said “reportedly transferred at least $3 million, on behalf of Khalid bin Mahfouz, to Usama bin Laden [sic] and assisted al Qida [sic] fighters in Bosnia.” So testified Clarke before the Senate banking committee on Oct. 22, 2003.
No surprise, Bin Mahfouz did not sue the State of New York, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee or Clarke. He preferred rather to stymie the flow of information concerning his apparent misdeeds by attacking the messengers.
The article continues with numerous libel suits filed in the UK that were all settled by the defendants. None of the listed cases were won in court of law. They were won by legal bullying, and if BCCI is a guide to how the process works, by using corrupt British government officials, and physical intimidation. Libel Tourism is a key component of the “lawfare” by which foreigners attempt to undermine American freedoms and laws, as it gives an extraordinary amount of power and leverage to filthy-rich Saudi citizens whose intent is to silence criticism or truthful reporting and whose interests are counter to the interests of America or Britain.
Also on the case: Memeorandum Roundup; Stanley Kurtz [plus 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]; NewsBusters; Cold Fury; Israel Matsav; Michelle Malkin; Hot Air; The Counterterrorism Blog; and even the reviewers at Amazon.