U.S. Freezes Assets of 39 More Groups and Individuals

Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill announced the move as a part of continuing efforts to limit the financial resources of terrorist groups.

“This morning we took the next step in this financial war,” O’Neill said in a statement. “Together Secretary [of State Colin] Powell and I notified all financial institutions in the United States to block the assets of 39 additional persons and entities that are either wanted terrorists or who are known to financially support terrorism. The list includes businesses and charitable organizations that funnel money to the al-Qaida terrorist network.”

The move brings to 66 the number of individuals and groups suspected by the United States of funding terrorism. The group also now includes all members of the U.S.’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list created earlier this week.

Since announcing the initial efforts to freeze assets connected to terrorism, the U.S. government has seized more than $4 million in bank accounts here. Globally more than $24 million have been frozen by 66 different governments.

O’Neill said the U.S. will continue to expand the list as the investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks that leveled the World Trade Center and a portion of the Pentagon continues.

“This list will continue to grow as we share information between nations and develop an increasingly clear understanding of the complex network of terrorist financing,” he said. “We are determined to deny terrorists the resources to carry out their acts of evil.”

President Bush has said the American war on terrorism must include efforts to choke off financial support.

“Money is the lifeblood of terrorist operations,” Bush said when he first froze the assets of suspected terrorist groups. “We’re asking the world to stop payment.”