POLITICS

Queen's Bank Coutts Denies Helping Osama Bin Laden And His Family

23/06/2014 10:54 BST | Updated 23/06/2014 11:59 BST
Chris Jackson via Getty Images
ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: Queen Elizabeth II attends day four of Royal Ascot 2014 at Ascot Racecourse on June 20, 2014 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse)

Queen Elizabeth's private bank Coutts has been forced to deny that it had ever handled former Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and his family's finances.

This comes after customs officials seized 14,000 files containing account details from the bank's Cayman Islands branch containing details of suspected tax evaders, which reportedly suggested that there was a link between the bin Laden family and Coutts.

The firm, part of the state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland, which is itself state-owned, insisted that it had never “looked after the financial affairs of Osama bin Laden or his immediate family”.

Some members of the bin Laden family are prominent businesspeople, like the owners of the Saudi Binladin Group construction giant, based in Saudi Arabia.

Customs officers seized more than 1,000 cartons from a ship in Hamburg harbour that came from the Carribean tax haven, where the bank recently closed its offices, which was headed for the bank's data centre in Geneva as part of a company reorganisation.

queen coutts
Coutts, the Queen's bank of choice

A Coutts spokesperson said: "We are not aware of any investigation into our trust company or its papers and we are working with the authorities to allow these papers to continue on their way.

"At no time have we ever looked after the financial affairs of Osama bin Laden or his immediate family. His individual financial affairs have never been an issue or interest of Coutts."

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