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Terrorism financing charges dropped

Reports say the Swiss justice authorities have suspended investigations into a Saudi businessman suspected of financing terrorism.

The Geneva lawyer representing the businessman told the Associated Press news agency that the Federal Prosecutor's office dropped all charges on December 13.

The Federal Prosecutor's Office has not confirmed the reports.

It opened proceedings against the Saudi Arabian citizen in October 2001, shortly after he was placed on a United Nations list of persons suspected of having contact with al-Qaeda.

The 52-year-old Saudi was accused of using Swiss bank accounts to transfer large sums of money to people connected with the terrorist organisation.

The businessman rejected the accusations, saying the money was earmarked for a student home in Yemen.

"All charges have been dropped," said his lawyer, Marc Bonnant.

The businessman's Swiss bank accounts will remain frozen since his name is still on the UN list.

Due to financial sanctions against al-Qaeda and Afghanistan's Taliban, 36 accounts with assets of around SFr20 million ($17 million) are blocked in Switzerland.

In 2005, the prosecutor's office suspended investigations into a second case of suspected terrorism financing involving the Swiss-based finance company Al-Taqwa Management.


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