US moves against Saudi-based charity; lifts sanctions on Chinese firm

The United States moved Thursday to clamp down on a Saudi-based charity accused of funneling money and other support to al-Qaida. The Treasury Department's action covers "the entirety" of Al Haramain Islamic Foundation, including its headquarters in Saudi Arabia, the government said. The action means that any assets found in the United States belonging to the charity are frozen. Americans also are prohibited from providing donations or otherwise doing business with the charity. The United States - between 2002 and 2004 - had previously taken action against 13 branches of the charity, including locations in the United States, Afghanistan and the Netherlands. Saudi Arabia joined the United States in putting some of the charity's branches on an asset-blocking list. And actions by Saudi authorities have largely precluded the charity from operating under its own name, the department said. However, "despite these efforts, (Al Haramain) leadership has attempted to reconstitute the operations of the organization and parts of the organization have continued to operate," Treasury said. In a separate action, the Treasury Department lifted sanctions on a Chinese firm and its US subsidiary after steps were taken to address US concerns.