Interpol heading down piracy’s money trail

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LYON, France (AP) — Interpol’s No. 2 official says big-money payoffs from pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa don’t yet appear to have reached terror groups like al-Qaida.

Jean-Michel Louboutin also says Africa — a hub of the drugs trade, terrorism and pirate attacks — has become a crucial area of focus for the international police agency.

Louboutin insists he has “no certainty” that al-Qaida or an affiliate insurgent group in Somalia known as al-Shabab receive cash from piracy, “but nothing indicates that it won’t get there.”

Louboutin spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday in an interview as Interpol opened a two-day, closed-door conference on piracy financing at its headquarters in Lyon.