Dubai money trail leads back to Israel

Although the Israeli government has yet to confirm its role in the murder of Mahmoud al Mabhouh, the Dubai police have provided further evidence through financial records that connect the crime to Israel.

The company Payoneer Inc., based in New York, has been named in the case – a company that helps facilitate Taglit-Birthright Israel trips. Payoneer provides financial services for trip participants and as the Wall Street Journal reports, the company’s chief executive, Yuval Tal, is a former Israeli special-forces soldier.

Dubai police said Wednesday they had identified credit cards used by 14 of the suspects to book hotel rooms and pay for air travel. Police named the issuing bank as MetaBank, a unit of Meta Financial Group Inc., a financial company based in Storm Lake, Iowa.

The bank said it had no comment “because we are trying to confirm the accuracy of statements by the press.”

Dubai police identified cards issued by Britain’s Nationwide Building Society, IDT Finance of Gilbraltar, and Germany’s DZ Bank AG. A Nationwide spokesman told the Associated Press that bank officials were “investigating the reports and have no further comments.” The other European companies weren’t reachable late Wednesday.

Dubai also identified a company called Payoneer Inc., based in New York, though it wasn’t clear what precise role authorities believe that company played. In a chart released to reporters, authorities suggested the company distributed the cards on behalf of MetaBank.

According to its Web site, Payoneer offers online payment solutions, including arranging for employers to pay overseas workers through money transfers into prepaid MasterCard debit-card accounts. Payoneer is based in New York, but has offices in Tel Aviv.

The company’s chief executive, Yuval Tal, appeared as a commentator on the Lebanon war in 2006 on Fox News, identifying himself as a former Israeli special-forces soldier. Mr. Tal wasn’t available to comment.

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  1. It appears that all parties involved have everything that connects their companies to the Dubai Affair “under investigation.” Most of the time, atleast in the US, that’s used as a dodge to bury an issue.