Ties to Bin Laden Family Misreported

May 30, 2003 Recent articles in The New Yorker magazine and on the CNN/Money Magazine Web site purport to have uncovered ties between the bin Laden family and Bechtel via the Fremont Group. The New Yorker goes so far as to suggest that revenue from Bechtel´s work on civilian infrastructure in Iraq supports the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden. The assertion is reckless and false.
Here are the facts:
  • Fremont Group is an investment company. Although it originated as a unit of Bechtel, it has been a separate, independent company since 1986.
  • The alleged “news” about the bin Laden family’s investment in one of Fremont’s funds is not new. It was reported more than a year ago.
  • The bin Laden family is totally estranged from Osama. It has denounced his actions since the mid-1990s.
  • Over the years, Bechtel has occasionally worked with the bin Laden family’s construction company.
  • There is no “money trail” between Osama and either the bin Laden family’s investment in a Fremont fund or Bechtel’s reconstruction work in Iraq.
  • Fremont Group follows all applicable laws, including the Patriot Act of 2001, which requires investors to be screened for connections to terrorism.