Archive for May, 2015

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MILF denies killing terrorist for reward money

May 29, 2015

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) purportedly whacked a fellow terrorist to collect the $1 million bounty offered on his head. The MILF denies it, but whoever said there’s honor among thieves? Not a bad idea actually. If you can get rid of a rival terror kingpin and enrich yourself in the process, it’s easy to understand why some terrorist groups would consider doing something like this. If I were one of the terrorists listed in the U.S. Rewards for Justice program, I’d be keeping one eye open for any “colleagues” who might want to capitalize on my death.

From ABS-CBN News on May 12:

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Stashes and sanctions: suggested news reading

May 28, 2015
  • ISIS financier killed in raid; documents seized… more>>
  • Danish jihadists receive 400,000 crowns in welfare benefits, and counting… more>>
  • Iraq faced sanctions for years thanks to Saddam. Now it faces sanctions again thanks to an Iraqi airline helping Iran evade its sanctions… more>>
  • Spain busts up a Chinese money laundering operation that helps illustrate how “smurfing” works… more>>
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Caucasus jihadists seek off-grid donations

May 26, 2015

Islamic State supporters from the North Caucasus are using Russian-language social media and a digital wallet service called QIWI to raise money to “fight against the disbelievers.” Use of the relatively anonymous QIWI service helps avoid monitoring and reporting of suspicious activity.

Thanks to El Cid, El Grillo, and Moscow Ghost for sending in this May 17 report from Radio Free Europe:

IS Militants Use Popular Russian Web Payment System To Raise Cash

A group of Islamic State (IS) militants from Russia’s North Caucasus region are using the popular Russian QIWI wallet electronic payment system to raise money online.

The group’s use of the QIWI wallet sheds light on how individual factions within IS carry out their own fundraising and outreach, and shows that this particular group has managed to raise cash openly using mainstream resources in Russia even though Moscow has banned IS and donating money to it illegal.

The militants involved in the fundraising are doing so through an unofficial Russian-language IS media activist group, ShamToday, which mostly comprises people from the North Caucasus who are with IS in Syria and Iraq…

Read the rest of RFE’s detailed report here.

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Britain bans ransom payments by insurance companies to terrorist groups

May 25, 2015

Earlier this year, Parliament passed a measure that prohibits insurance companies from paying ransoms to terrorists and provides for penalties if they do. The bill was debated in January, but it was not clear to Money Jihad at the time that the bill actually passed. The reliable Tom Keatinge has let us know that, yes, the bill has been enacted.

For more background on the law, check out Foreign Policy’s report on the subject from Jan. 8.

British legislators are considering a new bill that takes aim at a small, secretive niche in the insurance industry that deals with kidnapping and ransom, the latest money spinner for terrorists.

The new counterterrorism bill, proposed in November and being debated this week in the House of Commons, gives the British government broad powers to address new terrorist threats posed by the rise of the Islamic State.

One of the most controversial provisions would give ministers the ability to block British citizens suspected of fighting for terrorists from returning to the United Kingdom. Another section would require universities to limit the number of “extremist” speakers they host on campus.

But one part of the proposed bill that has gotten less attention would also make it a crime for British insurance companies to reimburse families or companies that pay a ransom to a terrorist in order to secure the release of a hostage. Critics argue that the provision is misguided, that it will do little to stem the flow of money to terrorists, and that it could disrupt the thriving industry of “kidnap and ransom” insurers and negotiators who successfully get people out of hostage situations.

Companies buy this insurance for employees working overseas who are in danger of being taken captive by terrorists, militants, or criminals. If that happens, the insurer connects the company to negotiators to help executives or families make a deal with kidnappers, send payment, and get the hostage back.

Kidnapping and ransom policies have come under scrutiny recently as British and U.S. counterterrorism officials have taken a stronger stance against paying ransoms to terrorists in order to starve Islamist militants of an important new source of funding. The Islamic State has used kidnapping for ransom to underwrite its gory campaigns in Syria and Iraq. A United Nations report in October estimated that the Islamic State had received $35 million to $45 million in ransom payments in the past year.

U.S. officials have long argued that making ransom payments encourages more kidnapping (though that hasn’t stopped Washington from acquiescing to ransom payments). The U.N. passed a resolution in January 2014 to discourage countries from meeting ransom demands, but a New York Times investigation published in July revealed that many European countries have been covertly making payments…

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Hezbollah fortunes expand in South America

May 24, 2015

Hezbollah’s multimillion dollar business in Latin America isn’t shrinking. According to French intelligence sources who leaked the information to Argentinian media, Hezbollah’s empire makes $60 to $100 million a year. Breitbart covers the coverage (h/t El Grillo):

Report: Hezbollah Rakes in Up to $100 Million Annually from Latin America

A new blockbuster report in Argentine news outlet Infobae claims that Hezbollah generates between $60 to $100 million dollars a year in illegal activities in Latin America, particularly in the Tri-Border area uniting Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. The piece echoes years of reporting warning that the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group has expanded its influence in the region.

Infobae reports that the astronomical sum was revealed to them by “sources within French intelligence,” who calculated this based on the numerous businesses that Hezbollah members are involved in throughout the region, particularly drug and arms trafficking and money laundering. The report describes the Tri-Border region as Hezbollah’s “capital,” from which $10 million annually flow into Lebanon alone. If the capital had a “municipal building,” it would be the Galeria Page mall, which the outlet claims is “under the control of the Shiite militia” and used to launder illicit money through its sales.

In 2006, the United States Department of Treasury identified the Galeria Page’s owner, Muhammad Yusif Abdallah, as “a senior Hizballah leader in the TBA [Tri-Border Area] and an important contributor of funds to Hizballah, notably hosting a fundraiser for the terrorist group in the TBA in 2004.” The same press release described the mall as “serv[ing] as a source of fundraising for Hizballah in the TBA and is locally considered the central headquarters for Hizballah members in the TBA.”

The Infobae report claims this situation has not changed since 2006 but, rather, expanded. “Mosques, Islamic cultural centers, businesses and other organizations without apparent political ties unite hundreds of members, which in many cases are ‘used’ by the terrorist group” to generate funding, Infobae notes.

Infobae concludes by noting that Hezbollah has ties to drug trafficking groups in Mexico and negotiates with the world’s largest non-jihadist terror group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), using their “comparative advantage” to work and profit together…

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North Korea’s costly assault on U.S. currency

May 22, 2015

The reason the U.S. has had to incorporate high-tech features into its currency wasn’t because of domestic crooks. It was to retard North Korea from its ongoing, coordinated attempts to flood the world with counterfeit notes and devalue the greenback. This information comes from testimony before Congress by Dr. David Asher. Rep. Al Green (D-TX) asked witnesses about counterfeit bills and merchandise yesterday:

Meanwhile, Pakistan has been doing the same thing to India, a phenomenon that has been ignored by Western media. It’s time for national security analysts to take note that counterfeiting is no longer a strictly criminal activity for profit, but a state-sponsored activity for political, war-making, diplomatic, and larger economic purposes.

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Terror takers: recommended news reading

May 21, 2015
  • Money freed up during Iran talks appears to be rebuilding Hamas’s tunnelsmore>>
  • The black market created by extensive regulation of the tobacco industry is enriching terroristsmore>>
  • ISIS seeks $23 million ransom for captives… more>>
  • Alibaba poses a risk for exporting sensitive military technology to China… more>>