UAE: No evidence of nuke links

The UAE Central Bank says reports that a Dubai-based businessman helped Libya and Iran develop nuclear programmes are speculation.

    US believes Tahir has links with scientist Abd Al-Qadir Khan

    Central Bank Governor Sultan Nasir al-Suwaidi said on Sunday the United Arab Emirates would only launch a probe into the affairs of BSA Tahir - head of Dubai's Gulf Technical Industries (GTI) - if proof of wrongdoing came to light. 

    Asked about reports of possible links between Tahir and the Iranian and Libyan atomic programmes, al-Suwaidi told reporters: "This is speculation. If we find something real then we will investigate it financially, but these are news items. If and when the time arises we might investigate." 

    US President George Bush has described Tahir as a deputy to Abd al-Qadir Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic programme, who has confessed to leaking nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. 

    Bush said Tahir was in Malaysia and an intelligence source
    there told Reuters Tahir was under investigation, but was free to come and go. 

    Money laundering

    Speaking on the sidelines of a workshop on fighting money laundering, al-Suwaidi said several cases in the UAE had been
    transferred to the courts. 

    The UAE central bank, which passed a law in 2002 to fight money laundering, had ordered a freeze on assets of 26 "terrorist" groups and individuals blacklisted by the United States. 

    Al-Suwaidi described cooperation with the United States in fighting money laundering and terror funding as "excellent", and said the UAE wanted a special unit to facilitate communication. 

    "They (US officials) are helping us on a lot of issues and we are helping them whenever a case arises when UAE parties are involved," al-Suwaidi said. 

    SOURCE: Reuters


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