Al Qaeda-linked groups hold $1.2m in frozen accounts

Michael Noonan disclosed thedetails in a written response.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has confirmed that entities with ties to terrorist network al Qaeda have more than $1.2m frozen in several bank accounts here.

Mr Noonan made the disclosure in a written Dáil response to Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty, where he also confirmed there are also over $1.6bn of funds owned by entities linked to Libya frozen in several Irish bank accounts.

In addition, Mr Noonan confirmed there is another €1m in funds frozen in bank accounts owned by parties with links to Iran with another $620,951 frozen in accounts owned by entities linked to Syria.

Mr Noonan confirmed that accounts are frozen through EU restrictive measures made as a result of resolutions of the Security Council of the UN through the publication of EU regulations. The minister explained EU regulations are binding on all EU member states once published in the EU Official Journal.

He said: “Financial institutions in Ireland are required to notify the Central Bank when funds have been frozen or blocked.”

Mr Noonan said: “Sanctions regimes are reviewed on a regular basis and where an individual has died or an entity has ceased to exist, the process is to await an amending EU regulation that may take into account a change in circumstance as described.”

Earlier this year, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said there is no specific information to suggest there may be a jihadi threat in Ireland. Ms Fitzgerald previously told an Oireachtas committee in 2014 gardaí were aware about 30 suspected jihadis had travelled from Ireland to take part in various conflicts since the start of the Arab Spring.

In his written reply to Mr Doherty, Mr Noonan said: “The Central Bank informs me that funds frozen by an EU regulation remain frozen until such time as the individual or entity name subject to the freezing is de-listed by the EU.”

He added: “The process of ‘de-listing’ can occur in a number of cases including evidence of mistaken listing, a relevant subsequent change in facts, emergence of further evidence, death of a listed person or the liquidation of a listed entity. Similarly, if a person or entity is de-listed from the UN sanctions list, relevant amendments are made to the corresponding EU regulation.”


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