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Former al-Qaeda plotter claims Saudi royals funded 9/11 attacks

Who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks still stirs controversy (Getty)

Date of publication: 5 February, 2015

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Zacarius Moussaoui, an imprisoned al-Qaeda figure, claims that top level Saudi officials helped finance the militant group prior to the deadly hijackings in the USA nearly 14 years ago.
A former al-Qaeda operative has alleged that prominent members of Saudi Arabia's royal family helped fund the 9/11 attacks that claimed almost 3,000 lives in the USA.

The explosive claims were made by Zacarius Moussaoui last October to lawyers representing families of victims killed in the attacks who are now suing the Saudi government for its alleged involvement.
     Moussaoui describes meeting Saudi royals to deliver letters from the late al -Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden

Moussaoui is currently held in a federal supermax prison in Colorado after receiving a life sentence for terrorism charges. He was in detention at the time of the 9/11 attacks.

His statement came to light this week during a response to a bid by the Saudi authorities to have the lawsuit dropped. 

The Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington released a statement, which denounced Moussoui as a "deranged criminal", dismissed his statements as "having no credibility" and asserted that the findings of the September 11 Commission ruled out allegations that Saudi officials or the Saudi government had funded al-Qaeda.

Explosive claims

"Extremely famous" Saudi officials were funding al Qaeda from the late 1990s, according to Moussaoui, who claims to have in depth knowledge of the group's funding after being directed, in 1998 or 1999, by the late Osama bin Laden to compile a digital database of donors.

Prince Turki al-Faisal, then the Saudi intelligence chief; Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, the longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States; Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent billionaire investor; and many of the country’s leading clerics were mentioned as names featured on that list.

The statements were made under oath but were not verified.

The Saudi authorities have made numerous attempts to have the lawsuit in the US dropped. The plaintiffs include family members of victims as well as insurers who covered costs of damage to property.

They posit that Saudi authorities and a government afilliated charity knowingly funded and provided material support to the group in the run up to the attacks.

Sensitive times

The allegations by Moussaoui come at a sensitive time for both the US and Saudi governments. Relations between the strategic allies have been strained by conflicting approaches to the region's upheavals and President Obama's drive for rapproachment with Saudi Arabia's foremost rival, Iran.  

Only two weeks ago Saudi Arabia navigated a tricky succession with the death of King Abdallah and the passing of power to his half brother Salman.

Moussaoui describes in his statement meeting Salman, then a Prince, and other Saudi royals, to deliver letters from the late al -Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

The 100 pages of testimony have not yet been judged as credible or not but they add a significant new dimension to the case underway in New York.

Statements were also submitted in court, Monday, from former Senators Bob Graham of Florida and Bob Kerrey of Nebraska and the former Navy secretary John Lehman, advocating further investigation into the involvement of the Saudi authorities in the 9/11 attacks.

Mr. Graham was co-chairman of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into the attacks, and Mr. Kerrey and Mr. Lehman served on the 9/11 Commission.

Mr. Graham has been lobbying for the release of 28 pages from the congressional report that explore Saudi connections but have been filed as "classified".

The law suit was filed in 2002 but has experienced a number of delays and setbacks. The plaintiff's lawyer has said he hopes to interview Moussaoui again and that he is "confident he has more to say". 

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