WASHINGTON – The Bush administration on Tuesday added three Islamic charities to the government's roster of entities suspected of providing financial support to terrorists organizations.
One of the charities — the Benevolence International Foundation, with headquarters in Chicago — already had its assets frozen by the Treasury Department last year, and the foundation's leader is embroiled in a legal dispute with the government.
The foundation's leader, Enaam Arnaout, is accused by the government of siphoning off some of the charity's money to help Usama bin Laden and other terrorists. Arnaout has pleaded innocent to the charges. That case is before a federal judge in Illinois.
The other two charities the Treasury Department added to the roster Tuesday are the Benevolence International Fund in Canada and the Bosanska Idealna Futura in Bosnia. Any assets belonging to the charities found in the United States would be frozen.
Treasury said all three charities are closely linked.
By adding the foundation and the two other charities to the United States' roster of suspected terrorist financiers, the government can now move forward with its request that the United Nations add the three charities to its blocking list.
"U.N. designation of these financiers of terror will cut off their access to the global financial system and strip them of their ability to fund evil,'' said Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.