Big Oil and Their Bankers, Excerpt. Sheik Zayed & BCCI
Posted on 12/06/2016
(Excerpted from Chapter 6: BCCI: Big Oil & Their Bankers…)
In the late 1990’s UAE Sheik Zayed was back to his old tricks, founding an air freight company known as Flying Dolphin.
Sheik Zayed was UAE Ambassador to the US from 1989-1992, just after the BCCI failure. A decade later the UAE was becoming an al Qaeda haven. In the emirate of Sharjah, al Qaeda operatives linked up with Russian arms dealer Victor Bout, a former Soviet fighter pilot. Bout owned a Sharjah company appropriately named Air Cess. Both Air Cess and Flying Dolphin were cited in a UN report on gun-running in Africa as consistent violators of UN arms embargoes in places like Sierre Leone, Angola and Liberia. Bout and Zayed were described as “business partners”. Both companies began ferrying Eastern European weapons to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan following a 1996 meeting with Taliban officials at a Sharjah hotel. The UAE was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban government, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Air Cess and Flying Dolphin also supplied al Qaeda operatives with cyanide and other dangerous chemicals from Germany, the Czech Republic and Ukraine.  The US State Department says Bout has a fleet of 60 cargo planes based at Sharjah’s duty-free airport. The UN demanded an end to Flying Dolphin’s Afghan shuttles on January 21, 2001, stating that the flights were carrying contraband. When a UN team tried to inspect Air Cess planes on the runway at Sharjah, they were told by UAE officials to leave the country. Those who persisted had their movements severely restricted by the UAE government, according to Belgian team member Johan Peleman. In 2004 NPR reported that Victor Bout was supplying US contractors in Iraq. His clients included Halliburton’s Kellogg Brown & Root subsidiary. 
The US finally applied pressure to the UAE after the 1998 African embassy bombings carried out by al Qaeda. Both President Clinton and Defense Secretary William Cohen wrote their UAE counterparts urging them to clamp down on al Qaeda funding networks. A senior UAE sheik responded that it was difficult to separate criminal money from that which was going to fight US proxy wars in Bosnia and Chechnya.
While Sharjah’s free-trade airport handled contraband, the neighboring UAE emirate of Dubai handled the money laundering. Dubai is a duty-free port and gold bullion landing strip where US Naval vessels often berth. Suitcases full of cash often show up at branches of British and US mega-banks that preside over this unregulated offshore banking haven. The Financial Action Task Force, a conglomeration of Treasury officials from 29 nations which was formed after the 911 tragedy, concluded that money laundering was rife in Dubai.