Archive for June, 2014

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5 Qataris who fund Al Qaeda

June 30, 2014

In addition to institutional and charitable support by Qatar, Al Qaeda and its offshoots (including jihadists in Syria and Iraq) receive substantial financial support from private Qatari donors and bundlers. Here’s a quick who’s who:

Qatari fundraiser for ISIS

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi
The U.S. Treasury Department describes al-Nuaymi as “a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided money and material support and conveyed communications to al-Qa’ida and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen for more than a decade. He was considered among the most prominent Qatar-based supporters of Iraqi Sunni extremists.” Al-Nuaymi transferred $600K to Al Qaeda in Syria in 2013, and sent $2 million monthly to Al Qaeda in Iraq for an undisclosed period of time. He is also described as an interlocutor between Qatari nationals and Al Qaeda in Iraq leaders.

Salim Hasan Khalifa Rashid al-Kuwari
Treasury says al-Kuwari “provides financial and logistical support to al-Qa’ida, primarily through al-Qa’ida facilitators in Iran. Based in Qatar, Kuwari has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support to al-Qa’ida and has provided funding for al-Qa’ida operations, as well as to secure the release of al-Qa’ida detainees in Iran and elsewhere.”

Abdallah Ghanim Mafuz Muslim al-Khawar
According to U.S. officials, “Al-Khawar has worked with Kuwari to deliver money, messages and other material support to al-Qa’ida elements in Iran. Like Kuwari, Khawar is based in Qatar and has helped to facilitate travel for extremists interested in traveling to Afghanistan for jihad.

Khalifa Muhammad Turki al-Subaiy
The UN describes al-Subaiy as “a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided financial support to, and acted on behalf of, the senior leadership of Al-Qaida (QE.A.4.01). He provided assistance to senior Al-Qaida leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed prior to Sheikh Mohammed’s capture in March 2003. Since that time, he has provided financial support to Al-Qaida senior leadership in South Asia.” Al-Subaiy served a brief prison sentence in 2008 before being released by Qatar.

Yusuf Qaradawi
The Egyptian-born, Qatar-based spiritual father of the international Muslim Brotherhood sits atop a massive terrorist funding network including the “Union of Good” umbrella network of charities that funds Hamas. Qaradawi was also a sharia adviser for Al Taqwa which provided banking services to Al Qaeda.

This piece has also been published at Terror Finance Blog.

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India freezes funds of jihadi ‘financial brain’

June 29, 2014

The equivalent of $100,000 in terrorist funds which was originally seized from Kashmiri jihadist Nasir Safi Mir is being frozen under court order in India. Law enforcement and media accounts have referred to Mir as a “financial brain” behind militant Islamist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. The court order could help pave the way for additional asset freezes as newly elected prime minister Narendra Modi looks to crack down on illicit money, hawala, and terrorist financing.

By PTI on May 28:

Court orders freezing of terror funds of JK operative

New Delhi: In perhaps first such action against terror funds channelled into the country, a special anti-money laundering court here has ordered freezing of Rs 55 lakh cash of fugitive terrorist Nasir Safi Mir, who is said to be the financial brain behind terror and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir.

The seizure of the cash, under money laundering laws, was made by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) earlier this year in what is widely seen as the first major case of terror funding being successfully nailed in the country.

The Adjudicating Authority of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), a judicial body to decide on strict enforcement cases, has also asked the Special Cell of the Delhi Police to hand over the cash to the ED.

The Special Cell has been custodian of this cash since 2006 when Kashmir-based Mir was arrested by it in a special operation.

Mir, who managed to procure bail in 2008 on health grounds from Delhi High Court, later fled from Nepal allegedly using a fake passport and, according to security agencies, he is at present based in a Gulf country.

“In consideration of the overwhelming evidence produced, the provisional attachment order issued by the complainant (ED) is hereby confirmed and the Special Cell of Delhi Police, police station Special Cell, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi is directed to hand over the aforementioned attached amount to the Director of Directorate of Enforcement or to any other person authorised by him, to do so, on his behalf,” the court of K Raamamoorthy said in a recent order.

Besides the Rs 55 lakh in cash, arms and ammunition were also seized from Mir at the time of his arrest.

Mir was subjected to extensive interrogation by central security agencies during which he is claimed to have spoken about his links with the separatist groups and banned terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen…

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Sentence commuted for suicide bomb money man

June 27, 2014

A court in Scotland has reduced the sentence of Nasserdine Menni, a serial liar who funded a botched suicide bomb attack in Sweden, essentially to 3 years of time already served. If the crimes had been committed in the U.S. Menni probably would have received a 15 year prison sentence for supporting terrorism, separate from whatever sentence he would have received for the welfare fraud that he also committed.

Menni also gave money to the bomber’s wife who destroyed evidence in the case but was never charged.

The disappointing news of the early release comes from the Herald Scotland, with thanks to El Grillo, who notes that the reporting doesn’t indicate to where Menni will be deported. Menni has previously claimed to be from Kuwait but is actually from Algeria.

Terrorist funder to be deported as jail term cut

GRANT McCABE

Wednesday 11 June 2014

AN asylum seeker convicted of funding terrorism is now likely to be deported after appeal judges cut his jail term.

Nasserdine Menni was found guilty of supporting suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab, who blew himself up in a blast in Stockholm in December 2010.

A worldwide investigation uncovered Menni’s links to Muslim extremist Abdulwahab.

Menni, believed to be in his early 30s, had previously claimed asylum while in Glasgow and it was money earned in the city from benefits and low-paid jobs that was intended to help carry out a mission to kill innocent citizens.

He was locked up for seven years in August 2012 for providing £6725 in the knowledge it could be used for terrorism.

His legal team, led by the same QC who defended the Lockerbie bomber, yesterday challenged the jail term at a Court of Appeal hearing in Glasgow.

Lord Gill, the Lord Justice General, sitting with Lords Menzies and Brodie, reduced the sentence to three years and backdated it to March 2011 when Menni was taken into custody.

It meant Menni had effectively served his sentence.

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ISIS’s original piggy bank was Saudi Arabia

June 26, 2014

Could the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) terrorists truly have funded their ascendancy solely through extortion against local businessmen in northern Iraq? True, that has helped ISIS, and Money Jihad has covered these extortion operations several times (here, here, etc.). But we have also seen repeatedly that successful and multifaceted terrorist groups tend to rely on state sponsorship, whether it’s the Taliban’s seed money from Pakistan, Hezbollah’s support from Iran, or IHH’s money from Turkey.

As Money Jihad has always said, Saudi Arabia didn’t just fund 9/11—it funded the Iraq insurgency. The same elements Saudi Arabia funded during Operation Iraqi Freedom continue to be funded by Saudi Arabia today. Iraq says that this is the case. German security expert Günter Meyer says it is the case as well. The only person denying it is some flunky quoted in this article who lives in a bubble and works in John Kerry’s State Department. It is difficult to characterize Jen Psaki’s quote as anything other than a lie.

This analysis from Deutsche Welle (h/t El Grillo) is important to read for anybody wanting to understand what’s really fueling ISIS’s rise—and it didn’t just start with seizing a bank in Mosul:

Who finances ISIS?

During its conquest of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, ISIS fighters looted more than 500 billion Iraqi Dinar, worth about $420 million (308 million euros) at current exchange rates. ISIS is a rebel army composed of Sunni jihadis that calls itself the “Islamic State of Iraq and greater Syria.” Its aim is to establish a theocratic Sunni caliphate in the region.

Iraqi officials estimate that the group now has about $2 billion in its war chest. What remains controversial is where the bulk of its money comes from.

Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government accuses Saudi Arabia of supporting the ISIS jihadis. On Tuesday (17.06.2014), Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki said “we hold Saudi Arabia responsible” for the financial and moral support given to ISIS.

The USA, which is Saudi Arabia’s most important ally, has rejected the Iraqi Premier’s accusation. Jen Psaki, a speaker for the US State Department, said on Tuesday evening that al-Maliki’s accusation was “inaccurate and humiliating.”

Money from the Gulf States?

“There is no publicly accessible proof that the government of a state has been involved in the creation or financing of ISIS as an organisation,” said Charles Lister, Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar, a subsidiary of the US think-tank Brookings Institution.

Others take a different view. Günter Meyer is Director of the Center for Research into the Arabic World at the University of Mainz. Meyer says he has no doubt about where ISIS gets its funding. “The most important source of ISIS financing to date has been support coming out of the Gulf states, primarily Saudi Arabia but also Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates,” Meyer told Deutsche Welle. The Gulf states’ motivation in financing groups like ISIS was to support their fight against the regime of President Bashar al Assad in Syria, according to Meyer. Three quarters of the Syrian population are Sunni Muslims, but Syria is ruled by an elite drawn mostly from the Alawite minority. The Alawites are an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Recently, however, the government of Saudi Arabia has recognized the dangers of this policy. “Saudi citizens now compose the largest contingent of foreign fighters in ISIS. When those fighters come home, there’s a danger that they might turn against the Saudi regime,” Meyer said. But there are reasons to believe that financing for ISIS continues to flow out of Saudi Arabia, “less from the Saudi government than from rich Saudis”.

Money from oil and extortion

Additional key financing sources for ISIS, according to Meyer, are the oil fields of northern Syria. “ISIS was able to get those oil fields under their control. They use trucks to bring oil over the border into Turkey. That’s an important source of funding for them.”

The view of Charles Lister at the Brookings Doha Center is that ISIS is largely able to fund itself. “ISIS has made an effort to establish networks in society that generate a continuing flow of money.” As an example, Lister points to the systematic extortion conducted by ISIS in the recently conquered city of Mosul.

“The exortion affects small businesses and big companies, construction firms, and if the rumors are true, even local government representatives,” Lister told DW. “In addition, it’s suspected that the organization levies taxes in the areas that it completely controls – for example Raqqa in northeastern Syria.”…

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Mafia makes killing on crash-for-cash schemes

June 24, 2014

A mob-linked auto shop owner has been indicted for insurance fraud. The case of Ronald Galati illustrates the methods employed in this increasingly common form of financial crime and its links to organized crime rackets.

In the blog post below, the executive director of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud comments that organized crime and insurance fraud are often perceived as involving immigrant groups, which is unfortunately true, and mentions Somalis in Houston as an example. The prevalence of auto insurance fraud by Somali-Americans in Texas is news to Money Jihad. Historically such schemes are associated with Palestinian Arabs in New York and the Russian mafia around the world.

We must admit that the deer blood ploy used in this case is pretty clever. If only Galati had used his cleverness for good rather than for crime…

From Insurance FraudBlog:

Mobster’s reputed auto cons show America can create its own defrauders

May 29, 2014 by Dennis Jay

“I live my life to cheat insurance companies — my high every day is to cheat insurance companies.”

That’s the motto of reputed Philly mobster Ronald Galati, say accomplices arrested in a widespread sweep yesterday. A grand jury in the city of Brotherly Love indicted 41 yesterday for allegedly staging auto crashes and faking damage to previously banged-up cars. Galati and his body shop collected millions from insurers in the scam, prosecutors say.

Investigators say Galati even had shop employees gather and store deer blood, hair and carcasses as props in photos later submitted with claims to insurers.

Participants in the long-running scam include body-shop employees, tow- truck operators, a city cop and two insurer adjusters — plus Galati’s wife, son and daughter.

Galati, an auto mechanic at American Collision, Inc., had strong mob ties and was out on bail for allegedly masterminding a triple murder-for-hire plot against men he believed had testified against him involving the insurance plot?

Much of organized crime involving insurance in America focuses on immigrant groups — Russians in New York City, Armenians in Los Angeles,  Dominicans and Cubans in Miami, and Nigerians and Somalians in Houston.

This case reminds us that we still have home-grown gangsters likely defrauding insurers and their policyholders in every major city…

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Canada: Hezbollah immersed in organized crime

June 23, 2014

Indeed. Most terrorists either personally know or know somebody who knows an organized crime figure, and vice versa.

According to Hezbollah’s Iranian masters, criminal mischief is religiously justifiable so long as it is done to harm the enemies of Islam.

From Sun News on June 3:

Hezbollah tied to organized crime in Canada, says spy agency

MONTREAL – Hezbollah members in Canada are involved in organized crime, according to Canadian Security Intelligence Service reports and documents.

Members of the outlawed group – banned as a terrorist entity in Canada since 2002 – also are secretly engaging in fundraising, procurement of materials and intelligence gathering, according to a “threat assessment” report by the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre.

Hezbollah’s activities here were among the subjects the spy agency expressed concern about in a “top secret” 10-page letter he wrote and delivered last July to Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, soon after he was sworn in…

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Extortion crackdown on gangs backfires

June 22, 2014

Extortion, zakat, jizya, revolutionary taxation—these are all basic means of collecting revenues to fund militant groups, and each method carries its own religious and ideological justification.

The problem is that once a group entrenches itself in a weak state and begins consistently making successful extortion demands against local businessmen, the phenomenon becomes very difficult to stop. This has been illustrated in Spain by ETA, by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and by guerrillas in the Philippines.

One method to combat such extortion networks is “decapitation,” that is, simply taking the senior leaders of the extortion rackets out of the picture. But analysis by InSight Crime of the unraveling crackdown against extortion networks of Central American gangs shows why that may not always be the smoothest tactic:

Honduras Extortion Gangs Undergoing Violent Leadership Crisis

Police in Honduras say moves to block cell phone signals in prisons have weakened the control of the incarcerated heads of extortion gangs, leading to increased violence as gangs fragment and mid-level operators compete for control of the market.

Officials from the anti-extortion unit of the Honduran police told El Heraldo that many gang leaders had lost control of their subordinates on the outside as they had been isolated by the shutting down of phone signals in jails.

According to the police, lower-level gang members have been running their own unauthorized extortion operations and withholding money from leaders. This has led to the fragmentation of some of the main extortion gangs, as well as revenge killings over unpaid money.

An additional problem is that gang members on the outside tend to be much younger, less experienced and more prone to making mistakes than the leaders, say police.

The main three gangs behind extortion in Honduras were the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), Barrio 18 and Los Chirizos…