Osama bought, sold gold to raise money: Report

A more detailed picture is coming to light as to how Osama bin Laden lived out his final years.

Abbottabad: The Osama bin Laden household in Pakistan’s Abbottabad town used to buy and sell gold jewellery, perhaps as a way to raise money, it has emerged.

Nearly two months after bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEALs who raided his Abbottabad hideout in the early morning hours of May 02, a more detailed picture is coming to light as to how the world`s most wanted fugitive lived out his final years secreted in the walled compound in the garrison town, where neighbours still deny ever having an inkling that he was there.

The emerging picture of bin Laden`s final years suggests that one way he may have escaped detection was by leaving as small a footprint as possible in the town, McClatchy reports.

One new detail that has surfaced is that the bin Laden household was buying and selling gold jewellery, probably as a way to raise money, the report said, noting that among the items found in his lair were receipts from jewellery stores.

The items may have been gifts, perhaps for bin Laden`s wives or children, but investigators are considering the possibility that trading in gold was one way the bin Laden compound financed its stay in Abbottabad.

Another new detail is that for a household that included at least nine women and twice that many children, its consumption of electricity and gas was far less than that of neighbouring households, a sign either of bin Laden`s legendary frugality or an indication that he simply had run out of money and was living as cheaply as he could.

By any measure, the compound was densely populated, as in addition to bin Laden`s three wives, the compound`s residents included bin Laden`s adult son Khalid, who probably was married, Arshad and Tariq Khan — the men thought to be the courier and his brother — and their wives, plus, according to US and Pakistani officials, around 18 children. That means 25 to 28 people lived there, the report said.

Yet the utility bills from the property were below those of even a modest household in the area. The bin Laden household`s four gas bills for March from Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited totalled no more than USD 18. By comparison, the family of a local journalist, a household of five, spent about USD 54 for gas that month, the report added.

The electric bills for April were similarly modest. The four bills combined, all in the name of "Muhammad Arshad”, came to about USD 83.

Pakistani officials said that bills that low never would have triggered suspicion that a large number of unseen residents were in the compound.

Local shopkeepers say the bin Laden household made similarly ordinary purchases of foodstuffs.


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