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24 September 2001

Text: Treasury's O'Neill on Order Freezing Terrorist Assets

(Foreign banks warned about financing bin-Laden group) (420)
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says an executive order signed by
President Bush freezing U.S. assets of terrorists will identify those
groups for donors and financial institutions.
In a September 24 statement, O'Neill warned financial institutions
around the world against continuing to finance in any way Osama
bin-Laden's al-Queda terrorist organization.
"Cooperate in this fight, or we will freeze your U.S. assets," O'Neill
said. "We will punish you for providing the resources that make these
evil acts possible."
Following is the text of O'Neill's statement:
(begin text)
September 24, 2001
Statement of Secretary Paul O'Neill on Signing of Executive Order
Authorizing the Treasury Department to Block Funds of Terrorists and
their Associates
This order provides the authority to block funds of terrorists and
anyone associated with a terrorist or terrorism. The order names
specific individuals and charitable organizations that are funding
terrorist acts. Donors now will know to avoid these charities that
front for terrorists.
With the signing of this Executive Order, we have the President's
explicit directive to block the U.S. assets of any domestic or foreign
financial institution that refuses to cooperate with us in blocking
assets of terrorist organizations. This order is a wake-up call to
financial institutions around the world -- if you have any involvement
in the financing of the al-Queda organization, you have two choices.
Cooperate in this fight, or we will freeze your U.S. assets. We will
punish you for providing the resources that make these evil acts
possible.
Many of our allies around the world have already stepped forward to
cooperate in destroying terrorism's financial infrastructure. I will
be in contact with my G7 colleagues again tomorrow to further
coordinate our joint effort to shut down the financial underpinnings
of terrorism.
Today's executive order gives us a new weapon to deny terrorists
access to funds. The Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Center that we
announced last week is up and running, coordinating information among
government agencies with the express purpose of identifying and
stamping out the financial network that funds terrorism. And we are
working with the G7 nations and many others to attack all parts of the
global infrastructure that finances these acts of evil. Together we
will succeed in starving the terrorists of funding and shutting down
the institutions that support or facilitate terrorism.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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