Cablegate: Treasury Deputy Secretary Kimmitt's Meeting With
DE RUEHMD #0294/01 0711318
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 111318Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4457
S E C R E T MADRID 000294
TREASURY FOR DEPUTY SECRETARY'S OFFICE, ALSO FOR
STATE FOR EUR/WE AND EEB/ESC
E.O. 12958: DNG: CO 03/06/2018
TAGS: ECON EFIN KTFN SP IR
SUBJECT: TREASURY DEPUTY SECRETARY KIMMITT'S MEETING WITH
SPANISH SECRETARY OF STATE FOR SECURITY ANTONIO CAMACHO
REF: A. STATE 21770
B. 2006 MADRID 2680
Classified By: DCM Hugo Llorens for Reasons 1.5(b) and (d)
1. (S) Summary: Deputy Treasury Secretary Kimmitt,
accompanied by DCM, met with Spanish Secretary of State for
Security Camacho March 6. Camacho outlined the GOS' views of
the threat from Islamic terrorism and emphasized the
importance of exchanging information. He suggested the
creation of a task force to go beyond exchanging information
and work together on terrorism issues. Camacho said the
Interior Ministry had forwarded information on Eddin Barrakat
Yarkas to the Foreign Ministry for use in UNSC designation,
but that the Foreign Ministry had not completed the process.
The Deputy Secretary outlined recent FATF and UNSC actions
highlighting the danger of operations with Iranian banks that
were financing illicit proliferation or terrorist actions.
He noted that two Spanish banks, Santander and Sabadell,
maintained correspondent relationships with Iranian banks.
In response to Camacho's defense of Santander's cooperation
on terrorist finance issues, he explained that any operations
with Iranian banks exposed the Spanish banks to possible
unwitting involvement in illicit transactions. End Summary.
2. (S) Secretary Camacho began by emphasizing the importance
of interchanges with the U.S. for Spain's security. In
response to the Deputy Secretary's question about lessons
learned from the January 19 arrest of suspected terrorists in
Barcelona, Camacho noted that Spain had detained over 300
Islamic terrorists in recent years. He said the operation
had reinforced the value of exchanging information as quickly
as possible. He noted that the operation had been carried
out by the Guardia Civil but with information from the
intelligence services and from third countries. He noted
problems of coordination of services within Spain and from
other countries. Deputy Secretary Kimmitt praised the GOS'
expertise in disrupting Al-Qaeda cells operating in Maghreb
countries and linked to Europe. He asked whether we could do
more together, such as joint recommendations for UNSCR 1267
designations. Camacho said the Spanish and U.S. services
shared information, that his meeting with the head of the
National Counterterrorism Center had been valuable, and that
Spain was willing to consider any formula that would lead to
faster exchange of information and breaking old habits.
3. (C) Camacho said terrorists from the Maghreb, Pakistan,
Afghanistan, and Iraq all were present in Spain. He believed
Spain had detained more terrorists than any other European
country. He said the GOS regularly told the USG and other
partners about the danger posed by Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb.
He said Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Mauritania all were
affected and that the French and Spanish governments each had
good relations with the governments of the four countries.
Ceuta and Melilla, Spain's two enclaves on the North African
mainland, also were threatened. He lamented the failure of
northern Europe to clearly understand the threat. He said
that Al-Qaeda was always referring to recovering
"al-Andalus," (the Arabic name for the Iberian territory the
Arabs had held for hundreds of years). Camacho said Spain
was directly menaced by Al-Qaeda and that Europe and the U.S.
needed to work together to deal with this threat now in order
not to have a greater problem later. He added that Maghreb
radicalization was not only a European problem, as terrorists
crossed borders easily to plan attacks in one country and
carry them out in another.
4. (S) Deputy Secretary Kimmitt noted that the financial
system also was interconnected and that terrorists and
weapons proliferators were looking for the weakest points in
the system. Camacho said that Islamic terrorist financing
was very complicated and unique, adding that many of Spain's
terrorism-related detentions were for financial actions such
as funding the travel of mujaheddin to Iraq. The Guardia
Civil had stepped up its analysis of Islamic terrorism
financing, leading to better operations against cells. The
Deputy Secretary noted that the Director of the U.S.
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network would visit Spain in
April and that the GOS should ask him for anything they
needed, though he thought information exchange through
existing channels was good. In response, Camacho suggested
the creation of a task force to work together, going beyond
the traditional practice of exchanging information but
working separately. The Deputy Secretary promised to discuss
the idea with the Embassy and in Washington.
5. (C) The Deputy Secretary asked about the status of
designations of Eddin Barrakat Yarkas and Driss Chebli.
Camacho noted that Yarkas had been in jail since 2001 and had
been convicted in 2006 for his role in the September 11
attacks. He said the Interior Ministry had passed information
to the Foreign Ministry to be used in UNSC designation. He
said the Foreign Ministry was working on this effort but that
it had not yet been completed. Camacho said Chebli had been
acquitted, implying that this was the reason he was not the
subject of any Spanish designation effort.
6. (C) The Deputy Secretary asked how the EU would implement
UNSCR 1803 in Brussels and at the member state level. He
noted that it named two new banks, Bank Saderat and Bank
Melli, as warranting particular vigilance. Camacho said
Spain's Financial Intelligence Unit, SEPBLAC, had
investigated Bank Saderat. He thought both Europe and Spain
were aware of the risks of Iran and its ongoing experiments
and that Europe would take all necessary measures. The
Deputy Secretary noted that Iran was a state sponsor of
terrorism with budget line items that supported Middle
Eastern terrorist groups that also had activities in Europe,
the U.S., and elsewhere. He said Iran's central bank, Bank
Markazi, coordinated the involvement by state-owned banks in
illicit activities. The USG had shared information showing
that Saderat funded Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism in Lebanon
via London. Sepah, Melli, and Mellat were funding the
weapons proliferation program and missile delivery systems.
The previous week the Financial Action Task Force, and that
week the UNSC, had said to be careful with any Iranian bank,
especially Banks Melli and Saderat. The UNSCR had called on
member states to exercise vigilance over export credit
programs to avoid contributing to Iranian acquisition of
nuclear missile systems.
7. (C) The Deputy Secretary told Camacho that he had informed
the Central Bank and the Economy Ministry (see septels) that
two Spanish banks, Santander and Sabadell, maintained
correspondent relationships with Iranian banks. He noted
that in Iran it was almost impossible to know your customer
and said that the Iranians were using unwitting banks for
proliferation-related transactions. Camacho noted that the
Spanish banks had a long tradition of cooperation with the
government's financial intelligence unit, SEPBLAC.
Santander, Spain's most important bank, always was credited
with good cooperation. This was not just an issue of banks
being potentially used by Islamic terrorists; Spain had a
long history of domestic ETA terrorists seeking to use
Spanish banks. He had no doubt that Santander would end any
suspicious operation that it found without the need for GOS
involvement. He encouraged the USG to send any information
that SEPBLAC could use, and he asked for more information on
the types of operations that should require special care.
Deputy Secretary Kimmitt acknowledged that the Spanish banks
had a good reputation in the U.S. but said his concern was
not about their policy or compliance. He said the only way
to avoid the possibility of being misled by Iran was to end
these relationships. British, French, and German banks had
ended correspondent relationships, and the Iranian banks had
moved southwards to Austria, Italy, and Switzerland.
8. (U) This message was cleared by Deputy Secretary Kimmitt.