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The charters of the Bahamas branch of the Al Taqwa Bank and the related Akida Bank are revoked. Al Taqwa’s headquarters in Switzerland will be shut down after 9/11 following accusations that it helped fund al-Qaeda and other Islamist militant groups (see November 7, 2001). [Randal, 2005, pp. 225] The US Treasury Department will later state that the Bahamas branch of “Al Taqwa and Akida Bank are not functional banking institutions in the conventional sense. They are shell companies lacking a physical presence and sharing the same address in the Bahamas where they were licensed.” [US Department of the Treasury, 8/29/2002] Press reports at the time say the closure is the result of Jordanian, French, and US intelligence reports indicating al-Qaeda money coming from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates had been channeled through Al Taqwa. [Forward, 10/17/2003] Journalist Jonathan Randal will later note that US intelligence on Al Taqwa was solid enough before 9/11 to lead to this closure. “Egyptian, US, and other Western specialists had long suspected this well-known Muslim Brotherhood bank had ties to al-Qaeda as well as to radical Algerian, Egyptian, and Palestinian Islamist groups. One persistent rumor suggested Osama had been bugged telephoning the bank in Nassau, [Bahamas,] in 1996 to discuss rearranging his finances at the time of his departure from Khartoum, [Sudan.]” [Randal, 2005, pp. 225]
Waleed Alshehri. [Source: US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division]9/11 hijackers Satam Al Suqami and Waleed Alshehri attempt to enter the Bahamas, but are refused entry because they do not have visas. They fly from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Freeport, Bahamas, where they have a hotel reservation for three nights, but are turned away by the local authorities and have to return to the US. The 9/11 Commission will speculate that the trip is an unsuccessful attempt to extend Al Suqami’s visa, which is due to expire within days (see May 20, 2001). However, as they are refused entry to the Bahamas, they are regarded as never having left the US and Al Suqami is not given an extension to his permitted length of stay when he returns to Florida. Alshehri is stopped by US customs during pre-clearance in the Bahamas, but he is not searched and his luggage is not X-rayed; the inspection lasts one minute. There is an error regarding Alshehri’s port of departure on his INS record which indicates that he leaves from Fall River, Massachusetts, not Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The two hand over their departure records when they leave, but, since they do not enter the Bahamas, they do not receive new arrival records when they return to the US. This causes INS records to incorrectly indicate that the two are outside the country from this date until 9/11. [9/11 Commission, 8/21/2004, pp. 23, 41 ]
A $40,000 bribe paid on behalf of Mohamed bin Hammam to Fred Lunn, vice president of the Bahamas FA. [Source: FIFA] (click image to enlarge)Following an address to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) by FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam, $40,000 bribes are handed out to CFU member offcials in an attempt to get them to vote for bin Hammam. The meeting is held at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Trinidad, where bin Hammam, who had paid for the officials’ travel and accommodation, presents his manifesto. Following the pitch, the officials, from 25 football associations, representing 25 votes out of 208, are asked to go into a conference room. The first to enter is Fred Lunn, vice president of the Bahamas FA. He is handed a large brown envelope and, when he opens it, according to a later affidavit, “stacks of US$100 fell out and on to the table.” Lunn is not authorized to accept such a gift, but is urged to do so by a CFU official. After accepting the money, he texts his superior, Bahamas FA president Anton Sealey. Sealey then calls him to say that “under no circumstances would the Bahamas FA accept such a cash gift.” Lunn takes a picture of the money and then returns to the conference room. There he finds a queue of officials waiting to collect their bribes, which prompts him to again text Sealey: “[A] lot of the boys taking the cash, this is sad given the breaking news on the TV CNN [about corruption charges in the 2022 World Cup bid process].… I’m truly surprised its happening at this conference.” Sealey’s reply is: “I’m disappointed but not surprised. It is important that [we] maintain our integrity when the story is told. That money will not make or break our association. You can leave with your head high.” The next morning Lunn attends a CFU meeting addressed by FIFA vice president and CONCACAF president Jack Warner. “Mr Warner stated that he had instructed Mr Bin Hammam to bring the cash equivalent of any gift he had intended to bring for the people attending this meeting,” Lunn will later say in the affidavit. “Mr Warner then stated that the money could be used for any purpose… for grass-roots programs or any purpose the individuals saw fit.” By this time Sealey has informed CONCACAF official Chuck Blazer, who will have a report prepared into the matter at the request of FFIA secretary general Jerome Valcke and then go public with the allegations (see May 24, 2011). [Press Association (London), 5/30/2011]
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