Hisham Chaudhary: Financing Terrorism Using Bitcoin
Moving funds to terrorist groups using cryptocurrency
A warm welcome to new subscribers to this newsletter! I’m very happy to report that we are now over 1,250 strong, and growing every day. In this issue of Insight Intelligence, I look at the case of a UK-based man who financed ISIL using cryptocurrency. I’ve been meaning to write this one up for a while (the case came to a close in July 2021) as I’m often asked about terrorist financing and cryptocurrency. This case is particularly interesting because the terrorist financier self-funded his activities and basically functioned as a one-man support network for the group, using the funds to try to liberate ISIL members (particularly women) from detention camps in Syria. Chaundhary’s case is also particularly relevant today as the US Treasury sanctioned another ISIL financing network yesterday for a similar set of activities targeting children in detention facilities. I hope you find this interesting! And if you do, please share it with a friend, and don’t forget to subscribe.
Last July, Hisham Chaudhary was convicted of seven offences under the UK’s Terrorism Act, and was jailed for 12 years. Two of the offences were for funding terrorism (ISIL). Chaundhary was originally arrested in 2019. Chaudhary’s case is interesting because it’s one of the most concrete examples of terrorist financing using cryptocurrency available today.
Chaudhary was a "trusted and active member of the banned terrorist group, one that not only subscribed to their ideology, but also immersed himself in supporting their activities and creating and spreading propaganda on their behalf," according to Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden, the head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East.
Chaudhary transferred £52,000-55,000 worth of cryptocurrency to ISIL and sent some of it to unknown sources, but he claimed it was for humanitarian purposes.