Archive for the ‘News commentary’ Category


Iranian billionaire sanctions evader on trial

October 8, 2015

Even leaving aside the terrorist financing and sanctions evasion, Iran’s financial system is as clean as a sewer.  Assets unfrozen by the Iranian nuclear deal aren’t only at risk of being used for nefarious purposes, but are also at risk for theft, mismanagement, and to worsen the corruption of endemic to the Iranian regime and its associates abroad.  This trial in Turkey helps illustrate that point.  From Today’s Zaman:

Iran may confiscate Zanjani’s assets in Turkey-linked graft case

All assets belonging to Babak Zanjani — supposedly the richest businessman in Iran who also has alleged ties with the prime figure in Turkey‘s graft scandal — might be confiscated, as sought in the indictment of his trial, known as the biggest corruption case in Iran’s recent history.

The Turkish daily Hürriyet reported on Monday the third session of the first hearing into Zanjani’s trial, which started on Oct. 3, and cited the Tehran deputy chief prosecutor who continued to be the reader of the 237-page indictment following the first and second sessions that were held on Saturday and Sunday.

While referring to the charges against Zanjani — which are mainly charges of fraud, money laundering and corruption both within Iran and in several other countries, including in Turkey — the deputy chief prosecutor said, “I [therefore] demand the confiscation of all of the defendant’s assets in Iran and other countries, including those assets that have been fraudulently transferred to his associates, in the national interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Zanjani, believed to be the richest man in Iran who has reportedly $14 billion in assets, is known for helping the Iranian government evade the Western sanctions that were imposed on the country over its disputed nuclear program.


ISIS slashes their fighters’ paychecks

October 7, 2015

The Islamic State of Iraq has cut the wages for jihadists from about $400 to $100.  Is it a sign that ISIS is struggling financially, or is it an indication that they’re able to cut wages and still attract volunteers?  It’s unclear from this report from the Mirror whether ISIS is able to replenish the fighters that have left for Syria in search of better wages.  Hat tip to Shariah Finance Watch:

Hundreds of Isis killers give up terrorism after chiefs cut pay by £200 a month

Hundreds of Islamic State terror fighters are deserting the cause – after their wages were slashed. 

The killers were on £260 a month until cash shortages forced the lower rate of £65…


5 men caught smuggling $6m for ISIS

September 24, 2015

The $6 million is only the tip of the iceberg.  According to South African law enforcement, one of the men made the same trip every couple days.  But even if it were only $6 million, that is a big amount of cash to smuggle anywhere.  It’s surprising they could even squeeze that much money into 12 bags they were reportedly carrying.  (Maybe it was vacuum packed?)  No wonder why this report says there was inside help.  From Fox News on Sept. 21 (h/t @AllSourceFusion):

Five men nabbed last month about to board a flight at South Africa’s busiest airport with $6 million stuffed in bags may have made hundreds of such trips — with inside help — as part of a cash pipeline to fund the Islamic State, police sources said Monday.

The suspected couriers were caught at Johannesburg’s main airport, OR Tambo, on Aug. 28, but news the money was headed for the terror network only emerged late Sunday. A senior police officer told Fox News Monday the suspects are believed to have been headed for the ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq by way of Dubai, and that one may have made the same trek hundreds of times.

“It is very likely that the money was going to ISIS,” the police officer said. “We are investigating who these five carrying the money were, and there is one … we are particularly interested in, as records show he was flying to Dubai every two days for a year”…


Gaps found in Malaysia’s terror finance policies

September 22, 2015

Malaysia has made progress in countering the financing of terrorism, but still has a long way to go according to a new report from the international financial watchdog FATF. Shortcomings include a derth of prosecutions, a failure to identify specific offenses under Malaysian law such as fundraising for terrorist causes, and extreme slowness in enforcing sanctions against UN-designated terrorists. From FATF’s “Mutual Evaluation Report” (h/t El Grillo):

Malaysia has undertaken over 40 TF investigations of which 22 are ongoing, however no prosecutions have been taken forward. Malaysia successfully uses other criminal justice and administrative measures to disrupt terrorist and TF activities when a prosecution for TF is not practicable. These include various domestic terrorist plots, terror groups and foreign terrorists. Malaysia also uses these other measures to address the most relevant emerging TF risk – individuals travelling to conflict zones to participate in or advocate terrorist activity. Malaysian authorities identify and investigate different types of TF in each counter-terrorism investigation, and counter-terrorism strategies have successfully enabled Malaysia to identify and designate terrorists, terrorist organisations and terrorist support networks. In the absence of TF prosecutions, Malaysia has not demonstrated that it has sanctioned different types of TF offences, such as the collection of funds for TF, or the financing of terrorist acts or individual terrorists.

Malaysia demonstrates many of the characteristics of an effective system for targeted financial sanctions (TFS). A key area of effectiveness is in the direct implementation of TFS against UN designated persons and entities. Malaysia has also domestically listed individuals and entities pursuant to UNSCR 1373 representing a range of domestic and international terror threats. Many of the elements of the legal system and processes for implementing TFS related to UNSCRs represent a best practice for other countries. Effectiveness of TFS is supported by supervision of the FI and some DNFBP sectors, outreach and awareness raising, and government agencies checking their own databases. In absolute terms the amounts frozen under TFS are relatively small, reflecting to some extent the cash economy nature of TF in the SE Asian region and the detention of a number of Malaysian designees. Recently more freezing actions have taken place outside of the banking sector and covering property indirectly owned or controlled by designated entities.

Malaysia’s approach to preventive measures, oversight and outreach to the NPO sector has improved significantly in recent years and demonstrates many of the characteristics of an effective system. Outputs reflect targeted approaches to TF risk mitigation, with outcomes achieved to a large extent. This includes RoS and other regulators as well as the RMP.

Despite good inter-agency cooperation on PF (policy and operational), Malaysia’s technical gaps in relation to R7 are significant and major improvements are required to make the process more effective. The long delays in transposing designations made by the UN into Malaysian law undermine effectiveness. RIs have increasingly good awareness of obligations, particularly in Labuan and the major FIs. Supervision of obligations is taking place, but implementation could be deepened and further supported with additional guidance. Two Malaysian banks have frozen over USD29 million of assets related to the one Labuan domiciled Iranian bank designated under UNSCR 1737. No entities or assets related to UNSCR 1718 have been detected. Vigilance measures adopted by Malaysia add to effectiveness.


UK cracks down on anti-democratic Islamists

September 21, 2015

Great Britain will grant their Charity Commission new powers to unseat board members of charities who espouse anti-democratic, un-British values according to a strategy document leaked to the Telegraph.  If true, this is a welcome development.  Hateful Islamist leaders have to be shamed and weeded out.  U.S. states should follow suit by granting their secretaries of state, who generally have authority to regulate charities, equivalent powers.

Extremists to be purged from charity boards under new law

Mosques will be hit as watchdog to use powers to expel ‘hate preachers’

19 Sep 2015

The Government is to purge “extremist” trustees from every charity in England and Wales in a crackdown that could affect thousands of people.

A leaked draft of the Home Office’s new counter-extremism strategy, seen by the Telegraph, says new legal powers for the Charity Commission to sack trustees will be used far more widely than expected.

In a paper in May on how it would use the powers, now being created in a bill before Parliament, the commission made no mention of extremism being grounds for disqualification.

However, the leaked counter-extremism strategy, due to be published this autumn, states that “once the legislation is enacted, the Charity Commission will take action against all trustees who meet the definition of extremism set out in this document.”

The strategy document defines extremism as “the vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.”

Among those likely to be affected are several mosques, most of which operate as charities, including the hardline East London Mosque. Some of its trustees have publicly supported sharia law and punishments for “crimes” such as adultery.

A number of aid charities have been regularly accused of channelling funds to terror groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and have trustees with links to those organisations.

Some private Muslim schools are likely to be caught by the provisions, including two run by the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation, a charity closely linked to the racist and extremist group Hizb ut Tahrir.

In a Hizb pamphlet one of the foundation’s trustees, Farah Ahmed, attacked religious tolerance and democracy and said that Western education was a “threat to our beliefs and values.”

Non-Muslim groups may also be affected, including Soldiers off the Street, a veterans’ charity whose trustees include a former senior British National Party activist.

Charitable status carries substantial privileges, including exemption from paying most taxes, tax breaks for individuals who donate and Gift Aid, which allows charities to claim back the tax paid by donors.

The Telegraph has exposed how hate preachers and Islamist extremists have secured charitable status and exploited it to claim thousands of pounds in Gift Aid and other advantages.

The benefit was claimed by IERA, a charity linked to a number of the “Portsmouth jihadis,” six young men from the Hampshire city who travelled together to fight for Islamic State (Isil) in Syria. IERA’s trustees include the extremist preacher Abdurraheem Green, also known as Anthony Waclaw Green.

Its board of advisers has included Bilal Phillips, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing, and the hate preacher Haitham al-Haddad, who has called Jews the “brethren of swine and pigs.”

Al-Haddad also founded and ran his own charity, the Muslim Research and Development Foundation (MRDF), which publishes a hardline Islamist website,, and other extremist material…


ISIS forbids interest-based banking in Libya

September 17, 2015

Islamic State operatives in Sirte, Libya, have ordered banks there to close because they profit from charging interest.  ISIS told the banks that they “must change to Islamic banking” before they can reopen.  If you know somebody who still doubts the connections between sharia-compliant banking and terrorism, please forward them this article from the Libya Herald (h/t @moscow_ghost):

IS closes banks in Sirte; orders them to change to Sharia banking

By Libya Herald reporter.

Tripoli, 13 September 2015:

A source in Sirte has told the Libya Herald that the Islamic State (IS) forces in the town had not taken over and looted the Central Bank, as widely reported earlier.

What happened, according to the source, was that on Thursday, IS went to all banks in the town and closed them. They ordered all staff to turn up to the main mosque on Friday after evening prayer to repent for having being involved in dealing with interest (usury or riba) and ask for forgiveness.  Most went.

The banks must change to Islamic banking, IS has demanded. When they have made the change, they can re-open, the source said…


Indonesia says terror financing “kingpin” is native Australian

September 15, 2015

Indonesia’s financial intelligence unit has traced the source of half a million dollars for jihad in Syria:  an Australian man married to a Javanese woman.  An Indonesian official says, “That man collected money from many people in Australia” (emphasis mine).  Hopefully this intelligence is being shared with Australian intelligence and law enforcement.  From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (h/t @skinroller) on Sept. 13:

Australian man linked to cash supporting terrorism, sending fighters to Syria: Indonesia

Indonesian authorities have revealed they have linked an Australian man to $500,000 they suspect has been used to support terrorism and send Indonesian nationals to Syria to fight with Islamic State.

The Australian man is married to an Indonesian woman who the ABC understands is from Java but is now living in Australia.

In an exclusive interview with the ABC, Agus Santoso, the deputy chair of Indonesia’s financial intelligence body Intrac, said they had tracked 5 billion rupiah from bank accounts in Australia that has been transferred to at least 10 accounts in Indonesia.

“That man collected money from many people in Australia. Then he sent it to his wife’s account in Indonesia,” Mr Santoso said.

“So this Indonesian woman was used to open some bank accounts which we suspect have links with terrorism suspects.

“What is surprising is that the kingpin is not an immigrant. In my opinion he is native Australian, not an immigrant. I mean, he is white.”

Intrac, also known as the Financial Transactions and Analysis Centre (PPATK), has tracked the money since 2012 and said some of the funds were still active in Indonesian accounts.

Mr Santoso said he strongly suspected the money was being used to send Indonesians to Syria, while also funding IS recruitment to strengthen the terrorist network in Indonesia.

He said $500,000 goes a long way in Indonesia.

“It only costs $250 to make a bomb,” he said…


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