Terrorist Financing News Roundup
Welcome to the hundreds of new subscribers to Insight Intelligence this year! It’s great to see our community growing. For those of you who are new around here, I usually do a terrorist financing news roundup a few times a year. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these roundups, so this will cover the last few months. Some highlights: lots of counter terrorist financing activity in Kashmir, and some attempts at the same in Nigeria. I’ve got a few good long reads for you at the end as well, all open-access. If you find this useful, please share it with a colleague, and don’t forget to subscribe!
Let’s kick things off with a good one. Analysis from TRM Labs argues that ISIL-KP in Afghanistan is currently accepting cryptocurrency donations. While I can’t independently verify this analysis, it tracks with what we know about ISIL-KP financing and the evolution of Afghanistan’s financial system under the Taliban. For now, the amount of funds involved appear small, but the capability development is what is interesting here.
In Kashmir, police disrupted a terrorist financing network. Individuals involved in the network went to villages under the guise of working for an NGO and collect money for “charity”. The NGO’s account were also used to launder the funds.
In Lebanon, Hizballah has used an “honorary consul” system to finance its activities. These individuals, granted some diplomatic perks, were used to move money for the group.
In the Philippines, a court ordered money forfeited from the NPA. The funds are believed to have been raised from unspecified illegal activities.
In France, a returnee from the conflict in Syria was arrested on suspicion of membership in an Al-Qaeda affiliated group. His activities were financed, in part, by his wife (who herself raised money from prostitution). Also in France, two men were convicted on charges of funding terrorism with cryptocurrency. They sent over $280,000 to jihadists in Syria.
In Denmark, a 35 year-old man was found guilty of various terrorism offences, including financing and promoting terrorist activities (ISIS). Material for a bomb was found in his flat. His wife and brother were also found guilty of financing and supporting him. His wife transferred him $750 while he was on “ISIS’s payroll”.
In Germany, a salafist involved in COVID fraud raised millions of euros. It’s unclear if he used the funds for any terrorist-related activities.
In the UK, a Catholic minister, her daughter, and granddaughter were all accused of terrorism financing offences for sending money to a family member who had joined ISIS in Syria.
In Syria, Turkish forces captured 13 ISIS terrorists, including the head of ISIS finance. This arrest might further precipitate the move of ISIS’s financial centre of gravity into Somalia, where the group is already well-established.
In Somalia, the government is undertaking renewed efforts to tackle Al Shabaab financing. Accounts are being blocked, including those at banks and remittance companies. The government said that it closed over 250 bank accounts and 70 mobile money accounts “linked” to Al Shabaab. However, there is no information on the strength of this “link”. While Al Shabaab is well-known to use both of these sectors for financial transactions, whether these are truly “Al Shabaab accounts” remains to be seen.
In South Africa, much fuss was made about the possibility of terrorists using a “Tinder Swindler” scam. However, the individual originally quoted as saying this says that he never said it, and that no such scams were taking place in support of terrorist financing.
In Nigeria, two individuals were arrested on suspicion of sponsoring terrorism. These arrests come as Nigeria battles several different extremist groups (Ansaru, Boko Haram, and ISWAP) and struggles with counter-terrorism financing. Separately, Nigerian authorities have identified “100 high-risk Boko Haram financiers”.
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