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Spain clears American of terror finance suspicion

Spain clears American of terror finance suspicion

A Spanish judge has cleared a U.S. citizen of Algerian origin of suspicion he financed al-Qaida's North African affiliate.
Investigating Magistrate Santiago Pedraz cited a lack of evidence against Mohamed Omar Dehbi, who used to live in Texas but now resides near Barcelona.
Dehbi was arrested September 2010 and then released, although Pedraz took away his passport, barred him from leaving Spain and ordered him to check in with police daily.
The judge, who kept the probe open, finally cleared Dehbi in an order dated March 8 and obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.
Dehbi was arrested after police alleged he financed al-Qaida by sending money to an associate in Algeria who is wanted in Spain on terror-related charges.
Dehbi could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday. Spain's Telefonica telecoms operator said he has an unlisted phone number.
At the time of his arrest last year, the Spanish Interior Ministry said Dehbi, who has resided in Spain since 2002, was suspected of laundering money and sending some of it to the associate in Algeria, Toufik Mizi, to be passed on to cells of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. Mizi is wanted in Spain after eluding a police raid in 2008.
The ministry said then that Dehbi used bank transfers or human couriers to send Mizi amounts in excess of euro60,000 ($80,000), although it did not specify how much was sent altogether.
But in clearing Dehbi, Pedraz wrote, "There is no evidence that Mohamed Omar Dehbi's business activities and money movements are linked to terrorism financing."
When he released the suspect from custody back in September, Pedraz said wiretapped conversations that Dehbi held with the associate did not show that any money Dehbi sent was for the purpose of financing terrorism.
Dehbi testified that he has known Mizi for 25 years and cut off all business ties with him upon learning that Mizi was wanted in Spain.


Updated : 2021-04-14 11:49 GMT+08:00