Saturday, 8 March 2008

Was there really a plot?

A plot to assassinate the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia was foiled by British counter-terrorist police, it was revealed on Wednesday.

Officers seized a courier as he tried to smuggle £166,000 through Heathrow airport on a flight from the US to Syria.

They believe the cash was bound for a group of dissident Saudis in Britain who planned to kill Crown Prince Abdullah. The money, in US dollar notes, was uncovered during a search in 2003. A man has since been convicted in connection with the incident.

Det Supt Mark Holmes, head of the National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit, revealed the plot at a counter-terrorism conference in Brighton yesterday.

He said: 'We seized 330,000 US dollars in a cash disruption exercise at Heathrow Airport.

'The money was coming to the UK for distribution around UK-based Saudi dissidents. We suspect this was going to be used to facilitate the murder of Crown Prince Abdullah.'

Mr Holmes said the case highlighted how important the distribution of cash was to a terrorist network.

Crown Prince Abdullah took the Saudi throne in 2005 and travelled to Britain last year.

He was greeted by Gordon Brown – and the Queen later hosted a 170-guest banquet in his honour at Buckingham Palace.

He was also at the centre of an alleged assassination plot by Libya in 2004.

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