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Islamic Relief gave $118K to terror-linked groups

September 21, 2014

New tax documents reveal that Islamic Relief USA (IR-USA), the largest Islamic charity in the United States, gave over $118,000 in grants in 2013 to entities with previous connections to terrorism.

IR-USA’s 2013 tax return, which was filed in July 2014, showed that the charity gave $45,495 in grants to the Florida branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the successful 2007 prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for financing the terrorist organization Hamas.

Their form 990 also shows that IR-USA gave $40,000 to the radical mosque Dar Al-Hijrah in Falls Church, Virginia, for a “zakat partner program.” Deceased terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki served as the mosque’s imam leading up to and immediately following the 9/11 attacks.

The tax schedule also documented almost $32,909 in grants to Services for Human Advancement and Resource Enhancement (SHARE) affiliates in Atlanta and Indianapolis of the Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA), a group which was founded by an unindicted co-conspirator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

IR-USA has been involved in several scandals in recent years: Money Jihad previously reported that IR-USA gives about $5 to $10 million per year to its parent charity Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), which has recently been banned from Israel for funding Hamas. IR-USA was also implicated in fraudulent multi-million dollar valuations of its drug stockpiles. More recently, Islamic Relief affiliates have described their own partnerships with the pro-Hamas front charity IHH to conduct operations in rebel-controlled territory in Syria.

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Oil money and Saudi Arabia’s stranglehold over global affairs

September 19, 2014

The five year anniversary of this blog’s inception is coming up in October. Before then we’ll revisit five videos that have touched on extremely important concepts in terrorist financing.

Today we’ll look at two. Money Jihad has shown one of them before—an interview with Bernard Lewis on C-SPAN—but it’s important enough to return to, about how oil money and the love affair between the House of Saud and Wahhabi clerics precipitated the rise of global jihad:

The other picks up where Lewis left off.  Former CIA director James Woolsey offers additional examples and comparisons about what Saudi oil money and the related control by Wahabbi clerics has meant for Islamic developments throughout the world over the past several decades.

Watching these videos and considering the billions of petrodollars that have flowed to terrorism, it almost feels silly to sniff out smaller transactions of a thousand dollars here and hundred dollars there to individual “martyrs” and their operations.

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Money for terror: recommended news reading

September 18, 2014
  • Behind’s ISIS‘s ascendance were piles of money from Kuwait and Qatar… more>>
  • Three anthropologists have learned “that ISIS is indeed involved in the illicit antiquities trade,” justifying their looting on the traditional Islamic khums tax… more>>
  • The threat of cyber-theft by terrorists raises alarms about the federal backstop for insurance against terrorismmore>>
  • Aid and donations are diverted to fund Hamas‘s rockets… Diagram>>
  • Biting the hands that fed them:  “Islamic State’s Ultimate Goal: Saudi Arabia’s Oil Wells”… more>>
  • Hamas’s budget is between $500 million and $1 billion a year. Funds derive from Iran, Qatar, and Turkey, and from taxing Gazans… more>>
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Denmark: Dahabshiil at risk for money laundering

September 16, 2014

Offices of the money transfer company Dahabshiil, which operates primarily in Somalia, have been found “completely inadequate” in their compliance with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing laws in Denmark, and the company has been referred to the police for further investigation.

The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) began an investigation of Dahabshiil’s offices in Copenhagen, Kolding, Aalborg, and Aarhus in July 2013, and concluded by July 2014 that Dahabshiil “has violated the essential elements of the Money Laundering Act.” FSA found that Dahabshiil’s employees in Denmark received zero training on compliance with the Danish Money Laundering Act, and employees have reported zero cases of suspicious customer transactions over the past five years. The FSA also determined that the destinations of Dahabshiil’s money, Kenya and Somalia, are “countries that have totally inadequate rules to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.”

In response to the FSA’s findings, Dahabshiil denied that its company would be “abused by criminals.”

Financial crime consultant Kenneth Rijock offers the following analysis of FSA’s findings:

Apparently, the local [Danish Dahabshiil] offices had no compliance regime whatsoever, and relied upon the parent entity…

If an EU member nation has taken the trouble to conclude that Dahabshiil represents an unacceptable level of risk, a major UK bank [Barclays] sought to exit the relationship, and ties with Al-Shabaab, which the United States attacked today, and reportedly killed it leader, as representing a clear and present danger to American interests, why can’t OFAC finally smell the coffee, and designate it? Has pressure been exerted by Midwest politicians, who have large Somali expats in their district, and how much more evidence is necessary for sanctions to be imposed?

When I write about high-risk individuals, who are guilty of committing financial crimes, so that compliance officers will know to decline to onboard them as bank clients, I have found that OFAC often doesn’t sanction them for a number of years after the bad news is in the public domain. Why wait so long? There has to be a faster way to identify financial criminals, and terrorist financiers.

Indeed. The FSA’s findings were scarcely reported in Denmark this summer, much less in the United States. Compliance departments have a right to know what allegations and criminal referrals have been made against Dahabshiil.  U.S. financial regulators have some catching up  to do.

In addition to these compliance deficiencies, Money Jihad has previously reported that Dahabshiil makes recurring payments to the al-Shabaab terrorist organization in exchange for the “privilege” of operating in Somalia. Member of Parliament Saado Ali Warsame was slain this summer three years after recording a song describing Dahabshiil’s financing of terrorism and announcing her belief that Dahabshiil had put a bounty on her head.

Meanwhile, several U.S. agencies and politicians are pursuing new ways to ease remittances to Somalia through companies like Dahabshiil.

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ISIS fundraisers afoot in Ceuta

September 15, 2014

A cell of Islamic State of Iraq agents have been arrested after operating in Morocco. Several of the operatives are said to have raised funds for their cause in Ceuta, a Spanish city adjoining Morocco. The Local, which subsequently reported that there are as many as 95 Spaniards fighting with ISIS in Syria, has the story:

Spain helps Morocco break up ISIS terror cell

Nine jihadists belonging to a recruitment cell for the terrorist group ISIS were arrested on Thursday in the north of Morocco with the help of Spanish security forces.

The arrests took place in Fez, Tétouan and Fnideq (Castillejos), not far from North African Spanish enclave of Ceuta, after extensive investigations involving Spanish security agents.

Some of those detained had ‘strong ties’ to Spain, Spain’s Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The cell is believed to have been dedicated to the recruitment, financial support and deployment of jihadists. Moroccans and others recruited to the cause by the group would be sent to training camps in Siria and Iraq run by the terrorist organization ISIS.

Once there, they would learn how to use firearms, build and defuse bombs, steal cars and other skills needed to carry out terrorist attacks or suicide missions.

Some of those recruited by the men arrested are believed to have participated in acts of violence in Syria and Iraq, including decapitations which were filmed and shared on social media…

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Jebril—Hamas fan, insurance fraudster, ISIS hero

September 14, 2014

While raiding the home of Ahmad Jebril and his father Musa Abdallah Jebril on suspicions of fraud, the FBI agents discovered a poster for Hamas, firearms, and blank passports. The Jebrils were eventually convicted on 42 counts of fraud including money laundering and bank fraud charges. At their 2005 trial it was learned that the Jebrils owned several rental units, which they enjoyed trashing in order to submit false claims to their insurance carrier. Netting over $400,000 from their crimes, no clear accounting of how they spent their money or to whom they transferred it has come to light yet.

Insurance fraud has been documented in other cases as a revenue measure for organized crime syndicates.

Ahmad Jebril spent part of his prison sentence in a federal penitentiary in Indiana that, according to the Detroit Free Press, “has been called Guantanamo North because many of the prisoners are Muslims whom prosecutors have tried to link to terror cases.” Only positive influences from his cell mates, to be sure.

Since his release, Jebril’s popularity among terrorists and his debts for restitution have only grown. Thanks to those who sent this in from the Detroit Free Press on Aug. 21:

U.S.: Dearborn cleric popular with ISIS fighters owes $250K for fraud

A cleric in Dearborn popular with supporters of the militant group ISIS owes a quarter of a million dollars in restitution and other costs stemming from his fraud convictions, according to newly filed court records.

Ahmad Jebril, 43, who has gained an international following among ISIS fighters and sympathizers, is on probation after serving 6½ years in prison. After being released in 2012, he has used social media to become what experts say is the most popular religious leader for Islamists from the West fighting for ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State…

Federal authorities in Detroit are trying to collect more than $250,000 in restitution from Jebril and more than $3,600 in special assessments for 42 counts of fraud. So far, Jebril has paid only $2,790, according to a motion filed Aug. 11 by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit. On Aug. 12, U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen approved the government’s motion, which calls for “actions necessary to enforce the collection of the restitution.”

In the motion, federal prosecutors wrote that a probation officer said she has “financial information about (Jebril) that would be helpful” to set up an “appropriate repayment schedule.” Jebril’s liability for restitution expires 20 years after his release from prison, which means he would have to pay more than $1,000 a month to pay his amount in full, which he is currently not meeting, said prosecutors.

Jebril and his attorney did not returns calls or an e-mail seeking comment. He was to appear for a deposition in the case on Aug. 13.

The government’s move to collect money from Jebril comes after Rosen placed restrictions on the Dearborn cleric in June because of his probation violations. Jebril was traveling out of state to speak at Islamic centers, but now is not allowed to leave the eastern half of Michigan and must share information about his computer activity to his probation officers if asked. The restrictions came after a Free Press report in May that noted his extensive activities online.

The Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence released a report in April that said Jebril was the most popular inspirational figure for Western fighters flocking to the Middle East to join ISIS…

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Technorati stops publishing blog rankings

September 13, 2014

For 10 years, the blog indexing company Technorati served as the Nielsen ratings equivalent of the blogosphere. But earlier this year, Technorati quietly yanked its rankings of blogs off the Internet and into a dustbin in their server room.

The end of Technorati’s rankings is unfortunate. The site lost some credibility over the years, but it was still one of the better tools available for tracking and comparing the relative popularity, authority, and influence of blogs. (It also means the end of “Technorati tags,” a convenient way of tagging content especially on Typepad platforms.)

Technorati probably could have helped its own reputation by making a bigger announcement before the move, or at least by enabling web users to access archived rankings. But they didn’t. So we’re not sure where this blog ended up immediately prior to Technorati pulling the plug, but as of March 2014, Money Jihad was listed a “Top 100” blog under the “World Politics” category, ranking 72nd:

Technorati blog ranking for Money Jihad

Money Jihad was also listed as a top 500 U.S. politics blog as early as 2010 when readership was much lower than it is today.

Alexa, which still provides statistical comparisons of blogs, generally monitors the blogs with the biggest audiences, and scarcely registers accurate metrics for “mid-market” blogs unless you pay them.

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