Russian special agents are sure that most of the money that went to supporting Chechen terrorists was provided by the Benevolence International fund. Several payments were made through Latvian banks where the money was cashed. According to Latvian newspaper Telegraph this was announced by Russian Presidential Advisor Sergei Yastrzhembsky.
It became known in November 2002 that the notorious US fund Benevolence International was linked to Latvia and the CIA also suspect the fund has financial links with Al Qaeda. At that time the CIA and the American government stopped the activity of the fund, whose central office was registered in Illinois.
There was a huge scandal when the CIA officially announced that the fund had been financing close associates of Bin Laden, various Al Qaeda groups, and Chechen terrorists. It turned out that such companies as Microsoft, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard had all contributed money to the fund. All of these companies later denied any responsibility claiming that they had been deceived and had only wanted to finance humanitarian causes.
According to the Telegraph Mr Yastrzhembsky said that Benevolence International had been one of the largest financial supporters of Chechen terrorists. In the space of four months in 2002 the fund made 19 electronic payments of USD 700 thousand to the City Bank. 'The money was cashed in Tbilisi, Baku and Riga and we have already ascertained how the money was transferred and spent,' the presidential advisor emphasised. The CIA has also said that Benevolence International made active use of Latvian banks for carrying out financial operations.
The Russian department for the fight against money laundering has declined to comment on this information, saying that it is confidential. No comment was made on whether or not Latvian banks had been involved in the financial operations of Benevolence International.