Bin Laden rigged oil and gold prices - bank chief
By Philip Sherwell
OSAMA bin LADEN is believed to have made a massive profit from trading in oil and gold as well as shares on the eve of the suicide attacks blamed on his followers.
Ernst Welteke, president of the Bundesbank, said financial investigators had found strong indications of suspicious dealings in gold and oil, as well as unusual movements in airline and insurance shares, in the days before the September 11 attacks in the United States.
It appears that terrorist leaders capitalised on their "insider knowledge" of the planned atrocities to invest in oil and gold, knowing that the prices would rise after the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Strange stock-market fluctuations have already been identified.
European Union finance ministers, meeting in Liege, Belgium, ordered national regulators to investigate the alleged market manipulations. Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, said: "Financial institutions in every part of the world should be under an obligation to report suspicious transactions where terrorist money could be in use."
Mr Welteke, speaking during a break in the same meeting yesterday, said: "There are ever clearer signs that there were activities on international financial markets that must have been carried out with the necessary expert knowledge."
He reported an unusual rise in oil prices before the attacks. This could mean that people had bought oil contracts, and later sold them at a higher price. Gold-market movements also "needed explaining".
Gold, a traditional refuge for investors in times of crisis, has risen in price each day since the attack. Oil prices soared 13 per cent within 24 hours of the atrocities.
The money-making operation, thought to have earned millions for terrorist coffers, follows to the word a 1998 exhortation by one of bin Laden's Islamist front groups to "kill the Americans and plunder their money".