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Osama’s last bequest: $29m for jihad

March 15, 2016

Authorities have released Osama bin Laden’s last will and testament. It was taken from his hideout in Pakistan. It is interesting that he intended to leave most of his money to family members with the assumption that they would carry out his work. We had been told elsewhere by defenders of Saudi Arabia that the Bin Laden family construction company and the Bin Laden relatives have nothing to do with Osama. Perhaps not.  Remember that Osama’s sister-in-law, Carmen bin Laden, once said, “Bin Ladens never disowned Osama; in this family, a brother remains a brother, no matter what he has done.”

The other interesting point is that this serves as further evidence that Osama bin Laden did not exhaust his personal wealth for Al Qaeda operations. He used other people’s money for that. Neither the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks nor the Afghan mujahideen’s fight against the Soviets were funded from bin Laden’s private accounts, contrary to the public image he liked to present.

…I, Usama Bin Muhammad ‘Awadh Bin ‘Abud Bin Laden, have signed below. In regard to the money that is in Sudan, it is about 29 million dollars. According to the mediator, I have received one-million one-hundred thousand in Sudan, eight-hundred thousand in Jalalabad, and then about one-million two-hundred fifty-thousand in Qandahar. I received twelve million dollars from my brother Abu Bakir Muhammad Bin [Laden] on behalf of Bin Laden Company for Investment in Sudan. I hope, for my brothers, sisters, and maternal aunts, to obey my will and to spend all the money that I have left in Sudan on Jihad, for the sake of Allah. Also, I need you to take 1% from the total and give it to Shaykh Abu Hafs al-Mauritani. By the way, he has already received 20,000-30,000 dollars from it, he said. I promised him that I would reward him if he took it out of the Sudani Government…

 

 

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ISIS manipulates currency in northern Iraq

March 10, 2016

Reuters says that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) “rigs currency rates.”  That sounds sophisticated—activity you would expect from a central bank.  Once you read their article you find that ISIS is forcing currency dealers in Mosul to exchange fewer dollars for the same amount of Iraqi dinars.  That sounds more like an organized crime racket than public financial administration.  Either way you cut it, ISIS’s fighters are getting pinched with lower wages, which is a good thing.

Islamic State rigs currency rates in Mosul to prop up finances

Islamic State militants in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul are manipulating the exchange rate between U.S. dollars and Iraqi dinars to squeeze money out of local people as coalition bombers attack the group’s finances.

The U.S-led coalition has said that in addition to attacking Islamic State’s fighters and leaders it will go after financial infrastructure too.

Air strikes have reduced Islamic State’s ability to extract, refine and transport oil, a major source of revenue that is already suffering from the fall in world prices. Since October the coalition says it has destroyed at least 10 “cash collection points” estimated to contain hundreds of millions of dollars.

U.S. military officials say reports of Islamic State cutting fighters’ wages by up to half are proof that the coalition is putting pressure on the group.

Average pay has been cut from $400 to $200 a month. While wages for foreign fighters, which were between $600 to $800, have also been cut, it is not clear by how much, said U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for the international coalition.

Yet the militants, who have near total control of the local economy, appear to have adapted to these setbacks in Mosul by introducing a new revenue stream.

The group earns dollars by selling basic commodities produced in factories under its control to local distributors, but pays monthly salaries in dinars to thousands of fighters and public employees, currency traders in Mosul told Reuters.

It earns profits of up to 20 percent under preferential currency rates it imposed last month that strengthen the dollar when exchanged for smaller denominations of dinars, they said.

“Daesh sells (the products) to traders in dollars, but it pays salaries in small denominations of dinars,” said an exchange bureau employee in Mosul, using an Arabic acronym to refer to Islamic State.

At the official rate set by the Iraqi government, $100 is currently valued at around 118,000 dinars.

In Mosul, the same amount costs 127,500 dinars when purchased with 25,000-dinar notes, the largest bill in circulation, according to the owner of a currency exchange bureau. The rate rise to 155,000 dinars when purchased with 250-dinar notes – the smallest bill available. Islamic State prefers the larger bills as they are easier to transport.

‘NOBODY WOULD RISK IT’

Three other currency traders confirmed those details. They all spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity for fear of being punished by Islamic State. Security restrictions in areas the group controls prevented Reuters from independently verifying their accounts.

It was not possible to determine how much money Islamic State is making by controlling the currency market. It was also unclear if these practices extended beyond Mosul, the largest city under Islamic State control, to other territories in Iraq and Syria.

Parallel trading at more competitive rates is very limited, traders said, because Islamic State has threatened to confiscate the money of anyone who breaks the rules. If it happens, it is in complete secrecy.

“Nobody would risk it,” one of the traders told Reuters.

Islamic State, which is frozen out of traditional financial institutions by international sanctions, operates a cash economy and controls most means of production, including factories producing cement, flour and textiles…

 

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Jihadists rustle cattle for cash

March 8, 2016

The Islamic terror group Boko Haram is selling stolen cattle through intermediaries.  The money is probably going toward paying the wages of Boko Haram fighters, buying weapons, and funding their operations.  Similar activities have been conducted by terrorists in Bangladesh.  From Vanguard (h/t to Don Okereke and El Grillo):

Boko Haram now sells stolen cattle to fund terror

…Shettima imposes civil-military management in cattle markets
…Ban sale of dry meat
… introduces stringent conditions in slaughter houses

By Ndahi Marama

Maiduguri Boko Haram insurgents have devised a new means of using “unscrupulous middlemen” to crudely sell stolen cattle at the Gamboru cattle market in Maiduguri with proceeds used to fund terror activities, Borno Governor, Kashim Shettima announced Friday. He spoke while inaugurating a new management made up of representatives of the Nigerian military, police, the Department of State Security, civilian JTF and Government officials who have been assigned to take full charge of the market and henceforth scrutinize sources of all cattle, delay slaughter of certified cattle for claims while the Government placed a ban on imports of cattle through various routes as well as sale of dry meat across the State…

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Kenya alleges Dahabshiil employee recruited for al-Shabaab

February 25, 2016

According to Kenya Media News Agency, an employee of the remittance company Dahabshiil has been charged in Kenya with recruiting fighters to join the terrorist group al-Shabaab.  Abdirizak Mowlana (also spelled Mowlanaa) has been described as “deputy manager” or “assistant manager.”  Dahabshiil operates in dozens of countries.  Mr. Mowlana is said to have held his position in South Africa, but it is unclear whether he managed all South African operations or just one branch office.  If the charges are proven, this news development would be the latest in a long line of red flags about Dahabshiil’s alleged involvement in financing terrorism–allegations which Dahabshiil has previously denied.

Kenya: Video Dahabshiil deputy manager charged with recruiting young Kenyans to Al-Shabaab

Kenyamedia.net – Dozens of men, including Dahabshiil’s deputy manager of South Africa, are charged with recruiting for Al-Shabaab in Kenya.

Abdirizak Mowlana was arrested in Nairobi where he was allegedly recruiting young Kenyan men to Al-Shabaab, a radical Islamic group with ties to the al-Qaeda.

“He ( Mowlanaa) met young Kenyans whom he told that he had jobs in Somalia for them. But we believe that he was taking them to Al-Shabaab to join,” said Joseph, an official for the Kenya Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Kaju, An official from the Kenyan anti-terrorism police said that the agent was investigating his alleged involvement and that he had taken young Kenyans to Somalia twice, where they eventually joined the Somali militants.

“The Assistant Manager of Dahabshiil Mr Mowlanaa has a South African passport and he was a preacher  of the Islamic religion. We introduced each other and often meet the Office of Dahabshiil in Johannesburg, South Africa” Said Mahad Mohamed, a member of the Somali entrepreneurs in South Africa…

UPDATE 3/8/2016:  Money Jihad reached out to Dahabshiil about these allegations prior to the publication of this blog post.  After publication, Dahabshiil responded, “Dahabshiil has confirmed that the accused individual (if he even exists) has no connection whatsoever with Dahabshiil. For the avoidance of doubt, he is not, and has never been, an employee or an agent of Dahabshiil, or otherwise known to Dahabshiil.”

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HSBC says bye to Islamic Relief

February 22, 2016

British bank HSBC has ended its relationship with the Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), the largest international Islamic charity in the world. In other words, HSBC has closed IRW’s account with the bank and has given them their money back. The bank’s decision was a risk-based determination probably based—not just on the locations of the world where IRW operates—on a review of IRW partners and what internal controls IRW has in place to ensure that its partner organizations and field staff have been adequately screened.

IRW has a pattern of working with Hamas-affiliated entities and then claiming afterward that it didn’t know. It is either purposeful or negligent. Either way HSBC is not obliged to serve as their bank.  After being excoriated for its slipshod compliance program a couple years ago, HSBC should now be applauded for applying solid standards.

From International Business Times last month:

HSBC snaps ties with Islamic Relief over ‘terror’ fears

January 4, 2016

HSBC has snapped banking ties with UK’s largest government-funded Muslim charity, Islamic Relief, over alleged fears of terror funding. Although the bank has halted services for other Muslim groups in the past, the affected charity is one of the most high-profile ones with operations in over 40 countries.

Islamic Relief receives millions of pounds from the Department for International Development. It expressed surprise at the bank’s decision, but said that other partners are helping it maintain aid supplies in countries where it operates. The charity added that no other bank or financial institution had withdrawn facilities.

According to The Sunday Times, HSBC may have ended ties with Islamic Relief because of the charity’s work in the Middle East, including projects in Gaza and Syria. Earlier, the Israeli government had banned Islamic Relief from the West Bank in 2014. It accused the organisation of laundering money to Hamas, a claim categorically denied by the charity.

Around the same time, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had also placed Islamic Relief on a list of forbidden organisations, a move the group is in the process of appealing against. Shortly after these bans, the bank took the decision to cut ties with the organisation, but it has only just become public knowledge.

Meanwhile, the UK Charity Commission ordered an independent investigation into the incident, and cleared Islamic Relief of terror funding allegations…

Seems the Charity Commission is the odd man out, no?

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Bribes, waste, and abuse: suggested reading

February 18, 2016
  • The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will cash in from sanctions relief on Iran… more>>
  • The Swiss may have paid the PLO in 1970 to prevent terrorist attacks in Switzerland… more>>
  • Question raised whether Sweden is still funding marksmanship training for Muslim refugees… more>>
  • Islamist preacher runs 140 tax-funded charter schools in U.S… more>>
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Germany scorns Saudi-funded mosques

February 15, 2016

This report is dated (from December), but even then it was old news that Saudi Arabia funds terrorism.  The tantalizing aspect of this story is that public officials in Western democracies are actually starting to talk about it openly.  From The Telegraph:

German vice-chancellor accuses Saudi Arabia of funding Islamic extremism in the West

In a highly unusual moment of a Western politician attacking a critical Arab ally, Sigmar Gabriel says the time has come to make it clear to Riyadh the time of looking away is over

By Justin Huggler, Berlin

06 Dec 2015

The German vice-chancellor has publicly accused Saudi Arabia of financing Islamic extremism in the West and warned that it must stop.

Sigmar Gabriel said that the Saudi regime is funding extremist mosques and communities that pose a danger to public security.

“We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of looking away is over,” Mr Gabriel told Bild am Sonntag newspaper in an interview.

“Wahhabi mosques all over the world are financed by Saudi Arabia. Many Islamists who are a threat to public safety come from these communities in Germany.”

The allegation that Saudi Arabia has funded mosques with links to Islamist terrorism in the West is not new. But it is highly unusual for a Western leader to speak out so directly against the West’s key Arab ally.

Mr Gabriel is Angela Merkel’s deputy and the leader of the German chancellor’s main coalition partner.

His intervention comes just days after German intelligence issued a rare public warning that Saudi Arabia is at risk of becoming a major destabilising force in the Arab world.

Mrs Merkel’s government quickly distanced itself from the BND intelligence service’s assessment, saying it did not reflect official policy.

But Mr Gabriel’s remarks make it clear there are serious misgivings about the Saudi regime within the government.

Wahhabism, a fundamentalist sect of Sunni Islam that inspired both Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and al-Qaeda is also the official form of the religion in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis have long funded the building of Wahhabi mosques around the world to spread the sect.

King Salman has already been widely criticised in the German media for offering to build 200 mosques for Syrian refugees arriving in Germany, even as Saudi Arabia refuses to take in any refugees itself.

Mr Gabriel’s linking of Saudi-funded mosques to Islamic extremism will heighten concerns over the offer…

 

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