Al-Qaida is preparing an attack on a big financial center in Asia, such as Tokyo, Sydney or Singapore, to undermine investor confidence in the region, according to top French terrorist investigator Jean-Louis Bruguiere in an interview published Friday.
Financial Times, a British newspaper, quoted Bruguiere as saying several Asian countries were less prepared than the United States or Europe.
"We are somewhat neglecting the capacity or desire of the Al-Qaida organization to destabilize the southeast Asia region," said Bruguiere, a French judge who has worked in anti-terrorism units for the past 20 years, bringing about the arrests of hundreds of terrorist suspects.
"We have several elements of information that make us think that countries in this region, especially Japan, could have been targeted," he said.
He also said an attack on an Asian financial center, such as Tokyo or Sydney, would be designed to dampen the region's recent economic boom.
"Any attack on a financial market, like Japan, would mechanically have an important economic impact on the confidence of investors. Other countries in this region, such as Singapore and Australia, are also potential targets," he added.