Saudi businessman Khaled bin Mahfouz is believed to have made investments in the Indian stock markets
India's premier intelligence agency, the RAW has warned securities and exchange board of India to watch out for investments made by a Saudi businessman called Khaled bin Mahfouz, in the Indian stock markets.
Mahfouz, the RAW believes is linked with Al Qaeda. Mahfouz first came under the scanner when he allegedly began siphoning off funds from a prominent bank that he controlled in Saudi Arabia, the National Commercial Bank and transferring the money to terror outfits.
SEBI is now being asked to probe if Khalid has been investing in Indian markets and possibly raising funds to finance terrorism. The Saudi businessman has aggressively denied any links with Osama in the past. However, he has not been able to shake off the suspicion of intelligence agencies that he could be raising funds for Al Qaida and Taliban.
Though the finance ministry has sought to downplay the apprehensions, the assessment of intelligence agencies has been backed up by independent investigations by the US which has, post-9/11, moved aggressively to choke the flow of funds to terrorists.
The suspicion is borne out by investigations by the US as well. If the intelligence is true, India would need to move fast to trace such funds, as blocking funding to terror outfits is one of the strongest tools for weakening them.
It was in February, this year, that India's National Security Advisor M K Narayanan warned of terrorist organisations investing in Indian stock markets. M K Naraynan had revealed that there have been isolated cases of terror outfits doing business on the stock exchanges in Mumbai and Chennai.
"Isolated instances of terrorist outfits manipulating the stock markets to raise funds for their operations have been reported. Stock exchanges in Mumbai and Chennai have, on occasions, reported that fictitious or notional companies were engaging in stock market operations," Narayanan had said.
Who is Khalid Bin Mahfouz?
- Saudi businessman of Yemeni origin.
- One of the wealthiest people in the world.
- Net worth estimated at $3.2 bn.
- Also holds Irish citizenship.
- Has interests in real estate.
- Holds investment in Thuraya Satellite.
Though the finance ministry has sought to downplay the apprehensions, the assessment of intelligence agencies has been backed up by independent investigations by the US which has, post-9/11, moved aggressively to choke the flow of funds to terrorists. An international vigil is on against Saudi-based Islamic charities.