Founded in 1983, Al Shamal Islamic Bank (located in Khartoum, Sudan) is suspected by the U.S. State Department of being a financier of the terrorist group al Qaeda. The evidence upon which this suspicion rests is rooted in a Switzerland-based bank named Dar al-Maal al-Islami (DMI), founded in 1981 and holding assets of some $3.5 billion. Whose 12-person DMI Board of Directors includes Haydar Mohamed bin Laden, half-brother of al Qaeda kingpin Osama bin Laden, and Khalid bin Mahfouz, whose sister Kaleda is one of Osama bin Laden’s twelve wives. (Mr. bin Mahfouz was indicted by the United States in the BCCI banking scandal that which defrauded depositors of $9 billion, and in 1995 paid a $225-million penalty for his crime.)
On August 15, 2002, DMI was named in a $100 trillion lawsuit filed in a Washington, DC United States District Court by the families of the 9/11 victims, alleging that the named defendants had given contributions to charities directly linked to al Qaeda. According to the brief filed by these families and State Department records, DMI was involved in "al Qaeda financing through several of its subsidiaries, including […] Faisal Islamic Bank and Al Shamal Islamic Bank." At a post-9/11 hearing, the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee testified that "Al Shamal Islamic Bank operations continue to finance and materially support international terrorism, and that there are indications that Osama bin Laden remains the leading shareholder of that bank." A 1996 State Department Fact Sheet asserts that Osama bin Laden invested $50 million in the Al Shamal bank.
During the 2001 trials of those suspected in al Qaeda’s 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, Ahmed al-Fadl, a finance manager for al Qaeda, testified that bin Laden kept funds at Al Shamal Islamic Bank, and that the al Qaeda leader paid all members of his terrorist network through that account. Another al Qaeda collaborator, Essam al-Ridi, testified that on one occasion bin Laden had transferred $230,000 from Al Shamal to a bank in Arizona to finance the purchase of a plane that would transport Stinger missiles from Pakistan to al Qaeda’s base of operations in Sudan.
Portions of this profile were adapted from the article "Where Is the Money From?, published by the Berkeley Jewish Journal on June 9, 2003.