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Suspected terrorist accounts contained $12 million

US treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill, said the suspect list includes groups that funnel money to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network Keystone Archive

Some 24 bank accounts frozen by Switzerland as part of global crackdown on terrorist funds contained $12 million, according to the federal authorities.

A spokesman for the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, Hansjürg Wiedmer, said on Friday that the blocked accounts contained $12 million.

His comments came after the prosecutor’s office confirmed on Wednesday that the accounts had been blocked, but gave no information about the amounts involved or the account holders.

The account names were culled from a list of 39 individuals and organisations that the US Treasury Department named on October 12 as suspected of conducting or financing terrorist activities.

New list of suspects

US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill said the new suspect list includes businesses and charitable organisations that funnel money to the al-Qaida network of alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

The Swiss authorities have said previously that Swiss banks are unlikely to contain significant amounts of money linked to terrorist groups because of the country’s tight money-laundering laws.

On Thursday, Switzerland’s biggest bank, UBS, said it had reported two suspect bank accounts to the authorities – one that had been closed in 1997, and another salary account that the bank had been asked not to block.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR