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Australian police tracks bank deals of Mohd Haneef

If the detained Indian doc's funds can be directly linked to terror activity, UK authorities could extradite Dr Haneef. The terror trail...
IANS | By Neena Bhandari
UPDATED ON JUL 08, 2007 02:12 PM IST

Australian police are tracking overseas and local transactions from the bank accounts of Indian-born doctor Mohammad Haneef, who is in police custody undergoing interrogation in Brisbane over the foiled terror attacks in UK.

According to the Courier Mail, "Each overseas transaction is believed to be below $10,000 which would avoid any scrutiny from AUSTRAC - a federal government regulator of transactions of $10,000 or more. If the funds can be directly linked to terrorist activity, UK authorities could extradite Dr Haneef."

The Queensland police bomb squad has opened a locker at the Gold Coast Hospital, where Haneef was working as registrar since September 2006. According to local media reports, a key found in Haneef's belongings triggered the search. However, the locker did not belong to him.

The Sunday Mail reveals that the police are examining signature stamps found in computer software on Haneef's laptop, which was seized during raids at his Gold Coast unit on July 3. According to the newspaper, the police are suspecting the stamps to be of Indian origin and could have been used to falsify documents. An AFP officer is understood to be travelling to India to trace the origin of the stamps.

The police are currently examining Haneef's mobile phone records, emails and computer files. A magistrate has given the police up to 11.30 pm on Monday night Australia East Time to detain Haneef under the counter terrorism laws.

Up to 50 specialist investigators from Queensland police's State Crime Operations Command and forensic units are working on the investigation with the Australian Federal Police. Internet cafes and flight schools in Queensland will be checked as part of the investigation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation had Saturday confirmed that Haneef had contacted a Philadelphia-based organisation that certifies foreign-trained doctors to work in the US, prior to coming to Australia.

More reports from the area where Haneef lived and the Gold Coast hospital say he and his wife lived with meagre belongings, they didn't have a television, kept the flat tidy, paid the rent on time, they attended the local mosque, but didn't socialize after the prayers for social meals and a game of soccer, he appeared "peaceful and spiritual" and he was a hardworking and competent doctor.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard Sunday said in Sydney that a new computer software would link ASIO with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. He said, "These new resources give us extraordinary additional capacity to drill down into the backgrounds of people who seek to come to Australia."

Australia has about 3,000 doctors of Middle Eastern and Indian descent. About 30,000 professionals enter Australia each year. Howard said it would start being used for visa applicants in September. "(It) will use methods of collating, and connectivity of data and behaviour, and patterns of travel and behaviour, which has not previously been possible."

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) warns that besides doctors, other professionals like engineers could be as likely as others to stage terrorist attacks in Australia.

Meanwhile, a claim made in a British tabloid Star that suspects in the foiled UK bomb attacks planned to detonate explosives using mobile phone from Australia has been played down by Australian Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.

Ruddock has told Channel Nine in Sydney that the report does not appear to be accurate. "I suspect there may be some people trying to draw the dots together that may in fact mis-state what has in fact happened. And that is [that] some of the people who had been in the United Kingdom who have now come to Australia as temporary residents left behind telephones and SIM cards which other people were using. I'm not sure there is a direct connection."

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the paper says bombers planned to use a call from Australia to detonate the Mercedes car bomb which was found parked outside a nightclub in London's West End.

Ruddock said Australia's anti-terrorism laws might be strengthened in the wake of the current investigations into the failed bomb attacks in Glasgow and London.

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