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Pakistan arrests 75 clerics for financial crimes

March 31, 2015

Pakistan claims to have frozen bank accounts that were used to funnel the equivalent of 100 million USD to terrorists and money launderers. Pakistan has also “recovered” $1 million from “clerics” and banned organizations. One hundred and fifty people, half of whom are Muslim clerics, have been arrested for hawala, money laundering, or other suspicious transactions during an unspecified timeframe.  From The Express Tribune:

National Action Plan: Over Rs 10 billion in foreign terror and AML funds frozen

By Zahid Gishkori

Published: March 25, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Authorities in Pakistan have frozen a number of accounts used to funnel Rs 10.2 billion in cash to terror and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) suspects, officials overseeing the National Action Plan (NAP) told The Express Tribune.

Law enforcement agencies also recovered Rs 101.7 million either from clerics or workers of banned organisations, they said.

These actions — taken with the assistance of the State Bank of Pakistan — are part of the overall efforts to throttle the flow of foreign funding to terrorists and proscribed organisations in the country.

Nine days after militants mounted a bloody attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, the government formulated the action plan in a bid to purge the country of all kinds of terrorism.

“To choke terror funding [in all shapes] is our top priority, this is our strategy to weaken foreign-funded militants,” said Hamid Ali Khan, national coordinator of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta). Under UN Security Council resolutions 1,267 and 1,373, he explained, Pakistan is bound to stop terror funding.

Another senior official of the interior ministry said both the UN resolutions bound member states not only to take measures against terrorists but also establish a global sanctions regime against designated individuals and entities associated with notorious global terror networks.

The official, who did not want to be named, revealed that civilian and intelligence agencies have arrested 150 people, half of them clerics, in violation of laws dealing with hawala, hundi, suspicious transactions and anti-money laundering by registering cases against 130 individuals who were getting money from foreign countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Australia, the US, the UK, Hong Kong, Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait…

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Salaam African Bank mum on pirates’ accounts

March 30, 2015

The chairman of Salaam African Bank has declined to cooperate with UN investigators about several accounts allegedly held at the bank by piracy financiers. One of those financiers may also be a family friend of a formerly sanctioned business partner of Osama Bin Laden.

The UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea named two pirate leaders, Mohamed Abdi Hassan “Afweyne” and a pirate negotiator named “Ali,” who have deposited money with Salaam, in its October 2014 report.

Afweyne is a pirate hijacker currently awaiting trial in Belgium who reportedly maintains a nearly $1 million account with Salaam Financial Services Bank—a Salaam African Bank affiliate—in Hargeisa, Somalia. Afweyne also holds two accounts with Salaam Somali Bank in Mogadishu, which is also affiliated with Salaam African Bank.

Ali, who has negotiated ransom payments on behalf of Somali pirates in several hijacking cases, is a friend and business partner of the alleged first cousin and son-in-law of Ali Ahmed Nur Jim’ale. Jim’ale was the owner of al-Barakaat, a bank which was until recently sanctioned by the United Nations. The 9/11 Commission said that U.S. intelligence agents believed Osama Bin Laden was Jim’ale’s silent partner in the creation of al-Barakaat.

The association between Ali and Jim’ale’s family, if verified, would serve as evidence of the long-speculated but unproved financial relationship between Somali pirates and Al Qaeda.

In response to the Monitoring Group’s questions about Afewyne and Ali, Salaam African Bank’s chairman, Ismail Egal, “indicated that the bank had no desire” to assist in the investigation. The central bank of Djibouti was also uncooperative in confirming the information gathered by the Monitoring Group.

The Monitoring Group has called for international sanctions against Somali pirate leadership, but those sanctions have not been levied. This state of affairs “has allowed pirate leaders, investors and facilitators, not only to invest their illegally acquired funds into other business ventures, but also to keep those funds in bank accounts, transfer them to business partners, launder them overseas or support family and friends in the diaspora,” according to the report.

Hat tip to Ayaamo News.

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Business executive charged with bribery is jihadist’s father & terrorist’s brother

March 29, 2015

Mamdouh Elomar, who is the father of a most-wanted terrorist who posed with the decapitated heads of his victims in Syria and the brother of a man convicted for one of Australia’s biggest terror plots, has been charged with foreign bribery offenses.

Elomar is one of the directors of Lifese, a Sydney-based construction company. The bribes were alleged to have been offered to Iraqi officials to win multi-million dollar contracts.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation offers this 3-minute report. Take a listen:

Charming family.

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UN adds JI’s “humanitarian” wing to Al Qaeda sanctions list

March 27, 2015

The UN, Australia, and Canada have added the Hilal Ahmar Society Indonesia (HASI) to their list of sanctioned Al Qaeda entities according to Mr. Watchlist. HASI is also known as Yayasan Hilal Ahmar or the Indonesia Hilal Ahmar Society for Syria. It “operates in Lampung, Jakarta, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Solo, Surabaya and Makassar, Indonesia,” according to the sanctions announcement, which describes HASI as “recruiting, funding and facilitating travel of foreign terrorist fighters to Syria.”

The U.S. sanctioned HASI, which calls itself the “humanitarian wing” of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, in September of last year.

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Money for terror: recommended news reading

March 26, 2015
  • Hamas was on the verge of bankruptcy until a Swiss offer to cover Hamas’s payroll… more>>
  • Bank compliance officers:  Do you know who your customers are in Latin America?  How about the customers of correspondent banks there?  It could include Hezbollahmore>>
  • The Obama administration appears to have violated long-standing U.S. policy in 2010 by having the CIA contribute $1 million toward a ransom payment to Al Qaeda for the release of a captive… more>>
  • Why effective organized crime groups inevitably seek international business relationships… more>>
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Indonesia nabs 6 ISIS fundraisers

March 24, 2015

Counter-terror police in Indonesia have arrested six people on charges of recruiting and funding jihadists to join the fight in Iraq and Syria. Young Muslim men the world over are answering the call of ISIS. They all need money for airfare. They’re getting that money from (usually) older men like those who were just arrested in Indonesia.  Many of the recruits are flying into Turkey.

From Sunday’s Jakarta Globe (h/t: El Grillo):

Densus 88 Arrests Six People Over Islamic State Recruitment

By Jakarta Globe on Mar 22, 2015

Jakarta. The National Police’s anti-terror squad Densus 88 on Saturday arrested six people for allegedly helping recruit and fund Indonesians to travel to Syria and Iraq to fight with the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

“We arrested six people, but it seems that only four people were actively involved [in recruiting],” said Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti, deputy chief of the National Police.

The arrests were made in Kebayoran Baru in South Jakarta, Bekasi and South Tangerang. Badrodin said the four allegedly funded and recruited Indonesians, and prepared IS propaganda.

On Sunday Densus 88 officers raided the Bogor home of Muhammad Amin Mude, who was one of the six detained on Saturday.

“We suspect him to have been involved in facilitating and helping fund local citizens who are going to Iraq and Syria,” Densus 88 spokesperson Sr. Comr. Faisal Tayeb said on Sunday.

He added police confiscated a number of IS related documents.

Amin’s wife, Wirda Lukman, has vehemently denied the allegations…

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Terror for hire: son of El Presidente busted for aiding Hezbollah

March 23, 2015

The son of Desi Bouterse, Suriname’s former president, has pleaded guilty to offering a base for Hezbollah to operate. Dino Bouterse also admitted that he trafficked drugs. This story brings together a lot of the common themes we see with a Hezbollah in South America: a mix of corruption, drugs, secret terror encampments, and politically connected palm greasers:

From Reuters earlier this month:

Suriname leader’s son gets 16 years U.S. prison for Hezbollah aid

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – The son of Suriname’s president was sentenced on Tuesday to 16-1/4 years in prison, after pleading guilty last August to U.S. charges that he tried to offer a home base to the Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah.

Dino Bouterse, 42, who worked in a Suriname counter terrorist unit, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan. Bouterse had also admitted to drug trafficking and firearms charges.

U.S. prosecutors accused Bouterse of inviting people he thought were from Hezbollah to establish a base in his home country, located north of Brazil, in exchange for $2 million that was ultimately not paid.

Bouterse was arrested by Panamanian authorities after a sting in which he allegedly talked about his activities with confidential informants from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Hezbollah has since 1997 been designated by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization…

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