BREAKING NEWS: U.N. Drops Sanctions Against Youssef Nada

Youssef Nada

Various media are reporting that the U.N. Security Council has dropped sanctions against Muslim Brotherhood figure Youssef Nada. According to a Newsweek report:

The U.N. Security Council has quietly dropped Youssef Nada, a prominent financial and diplomatic representative of the Muslim Brotherhood, from an international sanctions list directed at curbing the activities of alleged terrorist financiers. The delisting of Nada, by the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee, was announced by this official notice posted on the Security Council’s Web site. In addition to Nada himself, the notice declares that two businesses associated with him, Waldenberg AG of Liechtenstein and Youssef M. Nada & Co. GMBH of Vienna, also have been removed from the U.N. sanctions list….In a statement, a Treasury spokesperson said that the U.S. has supported “the removal of those individuals who are no longer appropriate for listing pursuant to that specific regime.” But the spokesperson added that Nada remains on the Treasury’s U.S.-only sanctions list. In a telephone call to NEWSWEEK on Wednesday afternoon, Nada confirmed that he was aware that his name had been dropped from the U.N. sanctions list but that it was still on the American list. He expressed puzzlement as to why he’s still on it. Nada said he had applied about a year ago for his name to be taken off the U.N. list. Nada reiterated his longtime denials that he had been involved in any dealings or contacts with either Al Qaeda or the Taliban. He also denied any contacts with Hamas, which he said was separate from the Muslim Brotherhood, of which he still acknowledges he is a member. Nada said he was “not going to sue anyone” in pursuit of compensation for the sanctions that have now been dropped, but that he was going to try to unfreeze and recover assets that had been frozen as a result of the U.N. action.

The Newsweek report also speculates about possible reasons behind the U.N. decision:

A European diplomat, who also asked for anonymity, suggested that the U.N.’s decision to drop Nada from its sanctions list may have been prompted by recent political developments in Switzerland. Earlier this month the Swiss Parliament’s foreign-relations committee approved a proposal to create a mechanism under which the Swiss government would have to stop enforcing international financial sanctions against people on the U.N. list in circumstances where little had been proved against them. As we reported in 2005, Swiss authorities conducted their own lengthy criminal investigation of Nada and his financial network but ultimately “suspended” it without issuing any criminal charges.

Youssef Nada and Ghaleb Ali HImmat, his close associate, are best known for their role in establishing the infamous and now-defunct Al Taqwa Bank located “offshore” in the Bahamas. Numerous Muslim Brotherhood luminaries held shares in the bank, including the bank’s Sharia supervisor Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi and his family, which was supposed to conduct business in accord with Islamic principles. The bank was closed in 2000 after what Nada said were unforeseen developments related to the Asian financial crisis and a run on the bank caused by unfavorable publicity generated by accusations that the bank was funding Hamas. No documentation of the bank’s activities has ever been produced and Nada has refused to hand over the bank records which he said were moved to Saudi Arabia. Nada has claimed to be the acting “foreign minister” for the Muslim Brotherhood and is known to have met with Saddam Hussein. Himmat had also been a leader of the German Muslim Brotherhood.

The Newsweek report also cites terrorism expert Victor Comras who believes that the Obama administration would have had to be supportive of the UN decision:

Comras also noted that given the fact that all listing and delisting decisions by the U.N. sanctions committee have to be unanimous, at some point, in his view, the Obama administration would have had to signal that it was willing to go along with Nada’s delisting.