Interpol's investigation into the suspected chief accountant for Al Qaeda in Spain, who allegedly laundered and moved money for the terrorist organisation through his Palma-based yacht chandler business, has led detectives to England and France. 56-year-old Ahmed Brahim, who also owned an apartment along the Paseo Maritimo, was ordered to be jailed in Madrid last April, just days after anti-terrorist police raided his Barcelona home. Authorities have said repeatedly that Brahim - an Algerian national - is an important member of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist group. It has since been confirmed that he housed at least one suspected terrorist, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, at his Palma flat, although Brahim told his Palma-lawyer that he was unaware of Salim's business or religious interest and activities. Back in April however, Salim pleaded guilty to charges of stabbing an American jail guard 14 months ago during his three-year incarceration in the United States. Brahim denied any close links to Salim in his testimony to the magistrate, said Attorney Miguel Ill Ferrer, who became Brahim's private defence attorney later in the day replacing the court-appointed attorney. Ill Ferrer was not allowed into the closed-door hearing, but met with Brahim afterward. Brahim did admit in the hearing that Salim had stayed at his home in Majorca in 1997 or 1998. Brahim became the 16th suspected Islamic terrorist to have been detained in Spain since the September 11 attacks. Police said Brahim had legal residency documents for Spain, where he has lived for 15 years, including about a year in the Barcelona suburb where he was taken into custody. The arrest came after a seven-month joint investigation by the Spanish, U.S. and European police forces. Brahim's lawyer however said yesterday that, although police have been exhaustively investigating his family and Islamic friends, no evidence has been found to link my client with any terrorist activities. The Palma lawyer has appealed to the Constitutional Tribunal in Madrid on grounds that his client's constitutional rights have been infringed and that all the accusations against Brahim are based on the fact that a suspect Al Qaeda terrorist spent one night at his Majorcan home. According to Ill Ferrer, the United States has withdrawn the terrorist charges against Salim and that he is serving life for the murder of one of the prison guards. That suggests that the prosecuters have cleared Salim of any terrorist activities, but my client is still being held for the only alleged crime of having housed Salim for one night in Palma, Brahim's lawyer concluded yesterday. Salim, alias Abu hajer, was arrested by the German police and extradited to the US charged with being involved with the terrorist attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
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