BERLIN — After serving 15 years in a German jail for his function as an confederate within the Sept. 11 terrorist assaults on america and being extradited final 12 months to his native Morocco, Mounir el-Motassadeq was handed an envelope containing 7,000 euros in money.
It was his jail wages — about $eight,000 — together with a month-to-month stipend.
Now, the German authorities are investigating what may need been a big a violation of the nation’s overseas commerce and funds legislation.
“We’re wanting into who gave precisely what directions to whom,” Nana Frombach, a spokeswoman for the Hamburg district lawyer’s workplace, mentioned on Friday.
Ms. Frombach mentioned investigators had been scrutinizing who had approved the funds to Mr. el-Motassadeq, a member of Al Qaeda and a good friend of Mohamed Atta — one of many masterminds of the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults that killed 1000’s of individuals.
Mr. el-Motassadeq, now 44, remains to be on a variety of terrorist watch lists all over the world, together with one compiled by the United Nations, in line with media studies. And he’s prohibited underneath German legislation from having any belongings — whether or not earned earlier than or after his conviction.
His case was delivered to the district lawyer’s workplace by Deutsche Bundesbank, the federal financial institution in Germany, after it observed an irregularity. Basically, it’s authorized for prisoners in Germany to be paid for work accomplished whereas incarcerated, and funds may even be made into their state pensions. And if inmates can’t work, they obtain a small allowance from the jail.
However underneath federal legislation, solely the federal financial institution can approve cost exemptions for individuals on the terrorism watch listing. When the financial institution noticed that the cash had been handed over to Mr. el-Motassadeq anyway — apparently by the jail — it went to the district lawyer’s workplace.
The jail again wages included a month-to-month stipend of €30. It’s not clear what jail work Mr. el-Motassadeq had carried out. A proper investigation by the district lawyer started in November — after the extradition in October — however the case turned public when the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported on the funds on Wednesday.
Mr. el-Motassadeq first got here to Germany from Morocco in 1993 as an engineering pupil. He fell in with a radical Islamic group in Hamburg that included two of the lads, Mr. Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi, who would later hijack locations on Sept. 11, prosecutors mentioned. Mr. el-Motassadeq was accused of wiring one in all them cash and admitted he attended a terrorist coaching camp in Afghanistan sponsored by Osama bin Laden.
Throughout a sequence of trials that started in 2003 and lasted 5 years, Mr. el-Motassadeq denied figuring out concerning the plan to hijack airplanes and assault websites just like the World Commerce Heart in New York and the Pentagon constructing outdoors Washington — saying that he had helped the hijackers unwittingly.
In 2005, a Hamburg courtroom accepted his argument that he had performed no direct function within the assaults. He was charged in one other trial as an adjunct to homicide within the deaths of solely these on the planes, relatively than within the deaths of everybody killed within the assaults. He was discovered responsible in 2007.
After serving his sentence, he was extradited underneath heavy guard and brought in a helicopter to the airport. Guards accompanied him on a industrial flight to Casablanca, however apparently nobody on the jail in Hamburg bothered to verify whether or not he would possibly nonetheless be on a terrorism watch listing.
The Hamburg jail authorities confirmed that an officer had been given the money at hand over to the launched prisoner.
Mr. el-Motassadeq was taken to Morocco, the place he’s believed to be dwelling in Marrakesh in good friend’s villa.