Terrorism: April 9, 2002


Osama bin Laden has some fifty half-brothers and half-sisters, almost all of whom spell their family name "Binladin" rather than "Bin Laden". All of these siblings have denied any contact with Osama for a decade or more. Many of them are quite wealthy business people in the Middle East or Europe. One of these is Yeslam Binladin, a Swiss resident who manages much of the family financial empire in Europe. French authorities originally cleared him of any terrorist contacts, but after further investigations in other areas and by other agencies, they have found a series of curious financial transactions by his companies (the largest of which is Saudi Investment Company). These could be innocent, or could be tax dodges unrelated to terrorism, or they could indicate that blood relations are indeed thicker than water. Yeslam's lawyer says that recent French police raids on his offices, which confiscated hundreds of business records, will ultimately prove there was no connection to Osama.--Stephen V Cole


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