Posts Tagged ‘real estate’

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IRA surviving on tobacco fumes

February 15, 2015

Two ex-IRA members have been arrested in the Canary Islands for a money laundering scheme involving at least 10 million euros. Like other IRA has-beens, the culprits seem to have shifted from crimes for a cause to crimes for profit. Or is the IRA’s “next generation” building a nest egg for a comeback?

Hat tip to El Grillo from Agence France-Presse last month:

Two ex-IRA members arrested in Spain for smuggling

Madrid (AFP) – Two former members of the Irish Republican Army were arrested in Spain during a sweep on an alleged tobacco and alcohol smuggling racket, police said Monday.

A Spanish police spokesman told AFP the ex-IRA members arrested for heading the network were Leonard Hardy, 53, and his wife Donna Maria Elizabeth Hardy, 48, both of whom were convicted of a 1989 bombing of a British army barracks in Germany.

The couple was arrested in Lanzarote on the Canary Islands on December 29 with five accomplices as part of coordinated sweeps in Las Palmas, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia, a police statement said.

“They led an organisation smuggling tobacco and alcohol, and laundered money through the acquisition of buildings,” the statement said, adding that an estimated 10.5 million euros ($12.5 million) worth of real estate had been involved.

High Court judge Pablo Ruz charged the couple with money laundering, smuggling and the funding of terrorism linked to the IRA, a judicial source said.

He ordered that Leonard Hardy be jailed while the investigation continued while the wife was released under judicial supervision so she could look after the couple’s children in Britain, the source added.

Spanish officials froze additional property assets worth more than 5.5 million euros ($6.5 million), and 90 bank accounts and investment portfolios in Spain…

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How Hamas skirts sanctions to fund terror ops

August 8, 2014

Since Western banks won’t work with Hamas, the terrorist organization has developed several methods of accessing cash: trade-based money laundering by getting foreign suppliers to under-invoice them for imports, bulk cash smuggling from Jordan, taking advantage of diplomatic pouch immunity to launder money through consulates, manufacturing counterfeit medicine, and crooked real estate deals.

Excerpts from a recent Worldcrunch article follow:

Financing Hamas: How Cash Gets In The Wrong Hands In Gaza

Tomer Ganon (2014-07-28)

…Smuggling of money by traders is a relatively simple example for the tactics the Hamas leadership has developed to funnel money to the organization in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel, as Israeli banks have refused to allow money transactions to and from Gaza fearing it will be used for funding terrorism.

These tactics have become increasingly sophisticated since 2010, a recent report from the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority (IMPA) found…

Another method for financing terror that IMPA had identified in past years is international commerce. According to one of its studies, terrorist elements have been using various business owners and traders for illicit fund transfers to Gaza.

This tactic, uncovered in 2008, has led to the indictment of two Israeli firms that traded foodstuff and customs representation. This is how it worked: Hamas leadership buys different goods, mostly basic food items, abroad for very low prices or even for free. It then employs straw men to contract a private company to import the goods to Israeli ports and then transfer them to the Palestinian territories. A local distributor, who is in fact a Hamas operative, receives the shipment and later sells the goods. The high revenues, thanks to the large profit margins, then go to terrorists’ coffers.

An additional pattern the IMPA study discovered was the use of accounts owned by diplomatic missions. Financial statements of an unidentified embassy, received by the agency, revealed a large number of transfers from its account to various elements in the Palestinian Authority, including those in Gaza.

An analysis has shown that one beneficiary was an entity suspected in facilitating money transfers to Hamas. IMPA believes the embassy’s transactions were made innocently, in what looked to be legitimate payments, without it being aware it could be aiding terror.

These tactics were identified by IMPA in the course of a review of financial transactions reporting as required by standing regulations. However, authorities are also looking elsewhere, including an emerging source of funding for terrorism in criminal activity, such as drug trade and the manufacture of counterfeit pharmaceuticals — activities that obviously go unreported, and whose extent is unknown.

According to sources in the enforcement authorities, it’s a simple equation. Drugs and fake medicine sold in Israel are often distributed by elements related to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad

The article doesn’t touch on state sponsorship and weapons supplied to Hamas by Iran and Qatar, which is of course the bigger factor behind Hamas’s operations.  But for spare change the above tactics work quite well for Gaza’s terrorists.

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Islamic terrorists pump money into real estate

November 13, 2013

Officials in India report that 14 million rupees (about 225,000 USD) of terror money has been seized.  The money was intended for investment in the real estate market in Bangalore.  Rediff News reports that “all the money” came from charity and extortion carried out by terrorist groups.  The seizure was the result of an investigation into a bombing at a political rally late last month.

Real estate purchases have been a tactic used by terrorist groups and their financiers in both the UAE (see here and here) and KenyaRediff points out that this isn’t the first time that terrorists in India have dabbled in real estate either.  This is a trend worth keeping an eye on…

NIA seizes terror money worth Rs 1.4 crore in Bangalore

The National Investigation Agency has seized Rs 1.4 crore, believed to be terror money, in Bangalore. The agency sources told Rediff.com that the money was sourced through modules in North East and was sent to Bangalore.

It is said that the money was part of a major transaction made during the planning of the Patna blasts of October 27.

The money was found following the interrogation of several suspects by the NIA and is believed to have reached Bangalore a few days back. It was sent to Bangalore to be housed safely.

The NIA sources said that the money could have been in transit to other parts of Karnataka where it was to be kept in a safe house and used for future operations by terror groups.

The NIA has been probing links between Islamic terror and North Eastern terror groups for some time now. This is a possible link to the same, sources in the agency felt.

Unholy terrorist-builder nexus

More details regarding the seizure of terror money from Bangalore have emerged and it is now learnt that the money was being invested into real estate. The money was transferred to Bangalore from Manipur by a terror group.

The money was received by a businessman in Bangalore called Shanti Meital who in turn was to pump the same into real estate.

All this money is collected by terror groups through extortions and charities. They then invest in real estate and rake in the profits later.

Sources in the NIA said that this is a major racket in the country today and all terror groups are indulging in the same.

“There have been several instances where Indian Mujahideen operatives have also parked money in real estate. Riyaz Bhatkal is an example of this. He was in a deal with a Mumbai-based businessman and was constructing apartments in Mangalore worth Rs 10 crore,” the source pointed out.

The source added that they have several more builders under the scanner who have been parking terror funds in their businesses.

The NIA will seek the help of the local police and other agencies in order to bust this financial nexus between builders and terrorists.

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Meet our new buyer: Qatar

June 15, 2010

Forget the glory days of Japanese businessmen buying up American property.  Welcome to the new reality of being bought out by oily Qatari sheiks.  From Reuters on June 13:

Qatar to be largest overseas property investor in 2010: report

DOHA (Reuters) – Qatar is expected to be the largest source of global real estate  capital during 2010, real estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle said in a report published on Sunday.

The country, which has emerged as “a new global powerhouse,” is expected to rank as the number one global overseas investor in 2010, according to the firm.

“Cash-rich and with a strong appetite for splashy overseas assets, Qatari vehicles have lately outshone their counterparts from the region and are projected to carry on with their rapid expansion across the real estate world,” the report said.

Recent investments — such as the purchase of London department store Harrods in May for around 1.5 billion pounds — are likely to be followed by further investments in other markets across Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia, it said.

“Qatar is the epitome of energy-rich GCC nations, with a large appetite for real estate investment, fueled by the rapid growth in oil and gas revenues over recent years,” the report said.

Qatar’s competitive advantage will be helped by the decline in investment from German funds, which were among the major global investors in 2009, the report said.

Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, was one of the fastest growing economies worldwide in 2009.

Its economy grew at an average pace of 17.4 percent over the past five years and it is set to largely outperform fellow Gulf oil producers such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in coming years.

A Reuters poll in April showed that Qatar’s economy was likely to expand by 16.1 percent this year.

And if you think these purchases are being financed by conventional Western means, think again.  Much of the capital will come from the sharia financial sector.