American investigators working on the international probe
of the assassination of Hamas
operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh
in Dubai, have identified links to US companies believed to have been used to transfer money to suspects in the case, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
According to the report, this find brings the authorities closer to identifying the elements that funded the operation, which Israel
has been accused of organizing. Dubai police claim that the killing was carried out by the Mossad.
The report also shows that US authorities are playing a bigger role in the international investigation than previously thought, despite its close ties with Jerusalem.
The American companies in question mainly include internet-based businesses that match freelancers with employers and process payments between the parties. US authorities have identified money transfers from these companies to bank accounts apparently used by the suspects in the murder.
However, the investigators believe the companies had no way of knowing who the transfers were destined for or what purpose the money would serve.
The investigators believe the suspects posed as freelancers in order to obtain money from the online companies in a manner that covers up their source of funding, and then used the money for their operational needs, such as the purchase of plane tickets into and out of Dubai.
Now, the investigation is focusing on identifying the employers involved in the transactions.
White House officials have refused to comment on the scope of the US' involvement in the assassination probe, and representatives of the companies in question told the Wall Street Journal that they have yet to be contacted by the authorities and weren't aware of any investigation.
Earlier this year, Dubai police identified 13 US-based bank accounts, which they claimed were used by the hit men. Dubai also emphasized that all suspects in the affair had used forged passports, meaning their names would not have been on any of the companies' blacklists.