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FOCUS - 11 of 17 DOCUMENTS Copyright 2002 The Washington Post The Washington Post October 18, 2002, Friday, Final Edition

SECTION: A SECTION; Pg. A26 LENGTH: 865 words HEADLINE: U.S. Pinpoints Top Al Qaeda Financiers; Treasury Official Heads to Europe to Seek Help in Freezing Backers' Assets BYLINE: Douglas Farah, Washington Post Staff Writer BODY: U.S. intelligence has identified about a dozen of al Qaeda's principal financial backers, most of them wealthy Saudis, and a top financial investigator is headed to Europe seeking a unified front to freeze their assets in the hope of crippling the terror network, senior administration officials said yesterday. Jimmy Gurule, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for enforcement, said he will begin a six-day visit to Europe on Sunday to present his counterparts with "specific information on selective, high-impact targets" so they can "be designated terrorist financiers and have their assets blocked. "We want to engage in a very specific level of information on these targets where we want the European Union to take action," Gurule said. "It goes beyond general statements and requests to specific people and entities we want authorities to act against.... More important than the number is the high impact these targets have." Another senior official said the list targets people who have given tens of millions of dollars to Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization through the years by routing the money through charities and legitimate businesses around the world. Since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the United States has frozen $ 112 million in terrorist assets, designated 240 people and organizations as terrorist supporters and moved against several large Islamic charities in the United States. But senior U.S. officials said that, until recently, they had not been able to trace the money to its source. Now, they said, recent intelligence gathered through interviews with captured al Qaeda operatives and other methods has given them a clearer picture of where much of al Qaeda's money originates. The list, the official said, goes "to the check writers who give the money to al Qaeda, not just the facilitators and those who move the money around. We are finally getting to the source." The official said most of the alleged financiers are wealthy Saudi bankers and businessmen. Because the Saudi government has previously proven uncooperative in confronting its prominent citizens about links to terror, the United States has not yet sought its help in the new effort, officials said. ' • Instead, the government hopes to freeze their assets in Europe, where the Saudi financial and business empires have much of their money, and put together the broadest possible consensus to demand that the Saudi government crack down on the alleged terror financiers, they said.