Middle east

Houthi terrorist militias are forging relationships with Turkish banks… What are their objectives?

New trends have emerged within the Houthi terrorist militias to establish closer ties with the Turkish regime through banking transactions and financial deposits, indicating that the Houthis are seeking ways to launder millions of dollars looted from the Yemeni people.

According to reports from websites affiliated with the terrorist militias, two banking officials associated with the Houthi group, Dr. Marwan Mohammed Khaled, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Yemen and Gulf Bank, and Engineer Tawfiq Hanish, Deputy General Manager of the bank, have been fostering relationships with Turkish banks since June last year.

These sources mentioned that they “visited a number of banks in the Republic of Turkey to enhance areas of mutual cooperation, establish strategic partnerships, and exchange banking expertise between them and the bank, as part of building the bank’s external relations network with a number of Arab and regional banks.”

Among the banks that the Houthi-affiliated banking officials seek to establish strategic partnerships with is Aktif Bank, described as the largest private investment bank in Turkey. This bank faced suspicions in 2020 regarding its involvement in money laundering operations, terrorism financing, and facilitating banking transactions for companies investing in pornographic websites.

In September 2020, the German website Deutsche Welle mentioned that the “FinCEN Files,” a number of leaked confidential documents from the U.S. Treasury Department, shed light on the central role of Aktif Bank in facilitating suspicious financial transactions. The website, citing the report, indicated that Aktif Bank, owned by Ahmet Calik, a close business ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was “suspected of being extensively involved in money laundering for a network of clients that includes the scandal-ridden German financial service provider Wirecard and suspicious figures from the pornographic industry.”

The report also mentioned that the former Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan’s son-in-law, served as the CEO of the parent company of Aktif Bank, Calik Holding, at a time when many “suspicious transactions” were conducted.

Aktif Bank has also been linked to dealings with the newly established Kabul Bank, an institution involved in a multi-billion dollar corruption scandal in 2010, and Watan Oil and Gas Company, which the U.S. government accused of having links to the extremist Taliban movement.

The Houthi-affiliated banking officials who traveled to Turkey to attend “the Arab Economic Conference held in Turkey last month” also visited Ziraat Bank, a state-owned bank. The militias hope to establish cooperative relationships with this bank to finance investment projects that they claim “will contribute to achieving sustainable development in Yemen, in addition to a number of banking services that serve Yemeni and Turkish businessmen, expatriates, and students studying in Turkey.”

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