U.S. freezes assets of AUM Shinrikyo cult, 21 other groups

Kyodo/November 2, 2001

Washington -- The U.S. administration on Friday added 22 groups, including Japan's AUM Shinrikyo cult, to a list of foreign terrorist organizations subject to an asset freeze in the United States.

''Listing these organizations under the Sept. 24 terrorist financing executive order underscores the administration's objectives to disrupt the financial base of terrorists,'' the Treasury Department said in a statement.

The executive order, signed by President George W. Bush, enabled the administration to freeze the assets of designated terrorist groups in the U.S.

The administration can also freeze assets or close branches if foreign financial institutions operating in the U.S. do not comply with the executive order.

The 22 entities include the Real IRA, an offshoot of the Irish Republican Army, and Islam fundamentalist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah in addition to AUM, which launched a fatal nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995.

The 22 are all on a list of 28 foreign terrorist organizations issued Oct. 5 by the State Department.

Six entities, including the al-Qaida network led by Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., had already been subject to the asset freeze.

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