US allege Australian gemstone trader Ahmed Luqman Talib funded al-Qaeda terror plots
US allege Australian gemstone trader Ahmed Luqman Talib funded al-Qaeda terror plots

Former uni student allegedly funding al-Qaeda

An Australian gemstone trader has been named by the US State Department as a "facilitator" providing financial and logistic support to al-Qaeda for their terrorist plots across the world.

Ahmed Luqman Talib has been declared by the US Government as actively involved in operational activities on behalf of al-Qaeda, allegedly using his business as a front to move money for the group.

It is understood American intelligence, working with Australian counterparts ASIO began probing the Melbourne-based 30-year-old last year as it tracked suspicious money movements, notably from Australia to his native Sri Lanka, Turkey, Qatar, Tanzania and Colombia.

He was allegedly found to have also had links with a controversial Turkish humanitarian organisation that six years ago was linked to al-Qaeda and suspected by Russian intelligence of smuggling guns to jihadists in Syria and Libya.

Ahmed Luqman Talib, an Australian gem store owner named by the US Treasury as an al-Qaida terrorist facilitator, is spoken to by police a day after he was named in the US. Picture: Andrew Henshaw
Ahmed Luqman Talib, an Australian gem store owner named by the US Treasury as an al-Qaida terrorist facilitator, is spoken to by police a day after he was named in the US. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

 

Yesterday his $1.4 million home in Melbourne's north east suburb of Doncaster that he shares with his wife Jerry Campbell, originally from Singleton in NSW, was raided by Victoria Police detectives, ASIO and the Australian Federal Police.

A large number of plain clothes detectives were seen weaving in and out of the four-bedroom home located at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac.

At one point Mr Talib came out for a cigarette and spoke to agents before leading them into the backyard. He has not been charged with any offence.

"The AFP can confirm that search warrant activity is occurring in Doncaster, Victoria," a spokesman said last night.

"The activity is being led by a Commonwealth agency. The activity does not relate to any specific threat to the community."

Neighbours knew little about the family who moved into the street earlier this year.

One resident described them as "fairly quiet" and that they kept to themselves.

 

Victoria Police and AFP at a property. Picture: Andrew Henshaw
Victoria Police and AFP at a property. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

 

It is understood police inquiries were also being made at addresses in nearby Mulgrave as well as links to a registered business in Mt Waverley as well as ties in NSW and Queensland.

Based on US intelligence advice, the US Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Mr Talib a facilitator "for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, al-Qaida".

Mr Talib, also known as Adam Taleb and Ahmad Luqman migrated to Sydney from Sri Lanka in 1995, has two concurrent Australian passports as well as citizenship and a passport from Venezuela.

Department Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said the Australian's gemstone business allowed him the ability to move with ease funds internationally "for the benefit" of al-Qaeda; his Melbourne-based business Talib & Sons Pty Ltd has also been blocked from any business with the US which will freeze assets it comes across.

His naming also bans any US citizen or financial institution from transacting for or on behalf of him.

Al-Qaeda has long had a hand in Australia.

 

Ahmed Luqman Talib (centre) who recovered from surgery for bullet wounds in the Istanbul hospital, with his sister Maryam Luqman (left) and wife Jerry Campbell (right) in June 2010. Picture: © Headpress
Ahmed Luqman Talib (centre) who recovered from surgery for bullet wounds in the Istanbul hospital, with his sister Maryam Luqman (left) and wife Jerry Campbell (right) in June 2010. Picture: © Headpress

 

Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton declined to comment but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: "Talib has had financial dealings in a number of countries, and his business dealing in gemstones has provided him the ability to move funds internationally for the benefit of AQ. The United States has made significant progress in degrading AQ's support networks around the world. We will not relent in our efforts to target AQ's terrorist activities and those who support them."

 

Jerry Campbell and Ahmed Talib on a speaking circuit.
Jerry Campbell and Ahmed Talib on a speaking circuit.

 

According to Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) records the company was created in 2019 at an address of his accountant in Mount Waverley and lists Mr Talib, who was born in Birmingham England but migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka, as director and his wife Ms Campbell, as a minority member share holder.

Mr Talib and 32-year-old Ms Campbell, who married in 2007 and studied together at Bond University, came to prominence in 2010 when he was shot by Israeli special forces when he was part of a protest international flotilla of boats attempting to enter Gaza which had been blockaded by Israel.

His sister Maryam, a former Griffith University student now in pharmaceuticals in Kuwait, was also with the pair.

He then became active with Far Leftist Socialist Alternative and NSW Green Left as well as Amnesty International, speaking at various sponsored rallies and discussions on his experiences.

Mr Talib's family came from Sri Lanka to Sydney in 1995, he studied for a time in Griffith, NSW, before moving to Brisbane.

His parents Luqman and Zakira Talib moved to Kuwait in 2000 but maintain strong ties to Australia.

Mr Talib, a devout Muslim, moved back from Kuwait to Australia to study international relations at Bond where he met his future wife who was studying nursing.

Her medical skills came in handy in 2010 when she had to attend to her husband's leg bullet wound and dozens of other shooting victims during the internationally condemned Gaza blockade by Israel.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Ms Campbell or any other member of Mr Talib's family.

 

Originally published as Former Gold Coast uni student allegedly funding al-Qaeda


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