HSBC, Prince Bandar, and 9/11: The Plot Thickens
July 21, 2012 • 9:17AM

The recently-released 330-page report of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (SPSI) on HSBC's role in money laundering for drug cartels, terrorist organizations, and Iran, has shed further light on the financing of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As the report documents, HSBC maintained a correspondent banking relationship with Al Rahji Bank of Saudi Arabia, a conduit for funds to al-Qaeda and other Islamist terror cells. Al Rahji Bank was part of a network of Saudi-based banks and charities that funneled an estimated $30 million a year to finance al-Qaeda's operations alone. HSBC, through its New York City branch, HBUS, gave Al Rahji and other linked elements within what was called the "Golden Chain," access to the U.S. banking system.

What's more, following the shutdown and sell-off of Riggs National Bank, after revelations of money laundering and other criminal activities on behalf of a number of foreign governments, the bulk of the embassy banking accounts were taken over by HSBC. The transfer of the embassy accounts from Riggs to HSBC included the infamous Saudi embassy accounts of Ambassador Prince Bandar bin-Sultan and his wife. Those accounts were conduits for at least $2 billion in kickbacks from the Al Yamamah weapons-for-oil barter deal to Prince Bandar, who brokered the Anglo-Saudi special arrangement back in 1985 with then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. At least $50,000 of those funds were passed on to two Saudi intelligence officers, Osama Basnan and Omar Bayoumi, who financed at least two of the 9/11 hijackers with those funds. These transactions were the subject of a 28-page chapter in the Congressional 9/11 panel's final report, which was classified top secret by President George W. Bush, and which, to this day, has been kept from the public eye. In February 2009, when he met with representatives of the 9/11 families, President Obama pledged that he would make sure that chapter was made public—a promise he never intended to keep.

This week, as Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) was releasing the SPSI report on HSBC's money laundering activities, Prince Bandar was named as the new head of Saudi intelligence. According to one knowledgeable U.S. intelligence source, Bandar is running the Saudi promotion of violent neo-Salafi terrorists. After the U.S. Department of Justice investigated Prince Bandar's role in the Al Yamamah scandal under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and after a U.S. court temporarily froze $160 million in Bandar's assets in the United States, the Saudi Prince has become virulently anti-American, according to the source.