Bait ul-Mal Incorporated

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Bait ul-Mal ("house of wealth") was a New Jersey investment firm founded by Soliman Biheiri and Hussein Ibrahim in 1985.[1]

In 2003 testimony before the US Congress, Richard A. Clarke stated that "BMI's investor list reads like a who's who of designated terrorists and Islamic extremists." [2]

According to Biheiri, BMI's largest investors were Yasin al-Qadi, Sanabel al-Kheer, Kuwait Finance House, and the brothers Abdullah bin Laden, Nur bin Laden, and Eman bin Laden.[1]

History

Prior to founding

Biheiri based BMI on the Islamic banking principles that were established by Mahmoud Abu-Saud and Gamal Attia. He had met them while studying in Switzerland and who, in 1981, had suggested that he may open a bank in the United States. Abu Saud provided BMI with a $500,000 investment.

1980s

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1990s

Around 1990 [When?], BMI received $3 million in investments from Muslim World League subsidiary Sanabel al-Kheer to fund the operations of an International Islamic Relief Organization office in the United States. The investment was arranged by Sulaiman al-Ali and his assistant Khaled Nouri.[1]

In 1993, banks which had been investing in BMI temporarily cut off their investments following the World Trade Center attack.[1]

During the mid-1990s, Al-Barakaat Bank invested $2–$3 million per month into BMI.[1]

In 1998, Sanabel al-Kheer filed a lawsuit against BMI, Biheiri, and Sulaiman al-Ali for mismanaging its funds.[1]

BMI went out of business in 1999.[citation needed]

Business structure

Divisions

BMI Leasing Partnership

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BMI Real Estate

Abbas Ahmed was a project manager for BMI Real Estate from 1985 until the company closed.[1]

Locations

New Jersey

BMI had an office at One Harmon Plaza in Secaucus, New Jersey. [1]

Virginia

BMI had an office at 5205 Leesburg Pike in Falls Church, Virginia. [1]

Controversies

Kean land sale

In 1987, BMI arranged the $24 million sale of land owned by New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean to Fathi Tolba and another Saudi investor.[1] This act was not notable until the early 2000s when press reports accused BMI of involvement in terrorism.[citation needed] Kean would later lead the commission investigating the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Vulgar Betrayal investigation

In 1989, a Chicago court issued subpoenas to Biheiri and Gamal Ahmed to testify about their relationship with Yasin al-Qadi during Robert Wright's Vulgar Betrayal investigation.

BMI employee Abbas Ahmed was a childhood friend of FBI agent Gamal Abdel Hafiz, who FBI agents Robert Wright, Barry Carmody, and John Vincent accused of obstructing investigations after Hafiz refused to wear a recording device while speaking to Biheiri.[3]

Relationship with Ptech and Yasin al-Qadi

Biheiri has said that Osama Ziade, founder of the software company Ptech, contacted him in 1992 to seek an investment of $3–$3.5 million to start his company, and that within days of this request Biheiri received an unsolicited telephone call from Yasin al-Qadi seeking investment opportunities with BMI. Al-Qadi would use BMI as an intermediary to fund Ptech by way of a Kadi International account established at the Bank of New York by Gamal Ahmed and Hussein Ibrahim. Biheiri and Ibrahim became members of Ptech's board of directors, and BMI was paid for its services in Ptech stock which lost its value in the company's bankruptcy.[1] BMI would later manage real estate investments for al-Qadi. [1]

References

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l Kane, David (2003-07-14). "Report of investigation of case number DC02PU02DC0005" (PDF). republished by John Caylor, Insider Magazine, under the title "Al-Qaeda/Hamas Financial Network Exposed". Retrieved 2012-12-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Archived: http://webcitation.org/70CVu1DtV
  2. "Statement to the House on Terrorist Financing".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Telvick, Marlena. "The Story Of Gamal Abdel-Hafiz". PBS. Retrieved 2012-12-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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