World Economy

HSBC to Close Accounts of British Muslims

HSBC to Close Accounts of British MuslimsHSBC to Close Accounts of British Muslims

Sources have claimed that the United Arab Emirates may have contributed to HSBC closing Muslim bank accounts, a new BBC investigation has revealed.

According to a report in the Middle East Eye, the UAE has listed the Cordoba Foundation–owned by the family of well-known British Muslim and his think tank–as being linked to terrorism on a database used by HSBC.

Based in the UK, the Cordoba Foundation says it works to improve dialogue between Islam and the West. The group had its bank account as well as the accounts of its chief executive Anas al-Tikriti along with several other prominent British Muslim individuals and organizations.

Daily Mail columnist Peter Oborne said that the word terrorism was listed next to the Cordoba Foundation on WorldCheck, a private database owned by the global financial information company Thomson Reuters that is used by 49 of the world’s largest 50 banks to help them make risk assessments relating to new or existing account holders.

“I’m now entering the Cordoba Foundation into the WorldCheck website, it’s loading now, it’s come up,” Oborne said on “HSBC, Muslims, and Me”, Tuesday on BBC Radio 4. “And in red the first word I see is ‘terrorism’. Actually two things, Cordoba Foundation and above it terrorism in dark red.”

 Linked to Terrorism

“It’s reportedly listed as a terrorist organization by the cabinet of the United Arab Emirates. So this designation by the UAE has caused the Cordoba Foundation to be linked to terrorism on this website.”

At the time of the bank account closures last year Tikriti suggested that the UAE, which he said held a significant stake in HSBC, may have played a role in the bank’s decision to close several accounts owned by him, his wife and two teenage children.

The UAE listed the Cordoba Foundation as a terrorist organization in November last year, along with a number of other groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, a group Tikriti is widely reported as having links with, although he denies any official affiliation.

Oborne went on to link the bank account closures to the UK government review of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was commissioned in April last year, allegedly pressured by Persian Gulf Arab allies, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and is still yet to be published.

Tikriti told MEE in a statement that he was stunned by the closure of the bank accounts.

“The fact that an unknown entity provides information to third parties, in this case banks, on myself and my work which I have absolutely no control over and no say in confirming or refuting, without my knowledge and without having the capacity or ability to respond to, rectify or explain, is beyond belief,” he said.

Tikriti added that it was “quite incredible” the UAE could designate the Cordoba Foundation a terrorist organization, a group he said that operates “according to British company and financial laws”. He demanded that “secretive profit-making entities such as WorldCheck be investigated, their sources exposed and the information they provide on customers be openly published and allowed to be challenged.”