We’ve known for years that Hezbollah uses supermarkets in West Africa to launder drug money for Hezbollah (such as Tajco Ltd). Amigo Supermarket in Abuja, Nigeria, is just the latest. The U.S. Treasury Department has named 1) Amigo, 2) an amusement park, and 3) a holding company in Nigeria as Hezbollah front companies. Treasury also sanctioned Mustapha Fawaz, age 47, a Lebanese-born Nigerian citizen who co-owns the companies, calling him, “a significant donor to Hizballah” who has “solicited donations in Abuja, Nigeria, and helped arrange the transmission of these funds to Hizballah in Lebanon.” Treasury’s action freezes any U.S. assets Fawaz may have and prohibits Americans from dealing with Fawaz.
Posts Tagged ‘terrorist financing’
When it comes to Islamic terrorism, we typically aren’t looking at money laundering scenarios. Rather, we’re looking money made through legitimate channels which is then diverted toward terrorism. These recent findings from researchers at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) align with previous Money Jihad analysis.
This graphic from their study shows the breakdown of the different types of financial schemes most commonly employed by Al Qaeda supporters in the U.S.:
A summary of the report is here with links to the full study.
Hat tip to @switch_d and @skinroller on Twitter for sending this over.
Not that we could take Iran at its word, but shouldn’t they agree to sign the convention prior to concluding a deal with Iran about their nuclear program?
Lebanon hasn’t signed it either. Other non-signatory countries with Islamist political movements include The Gambia and Chad. But they don’t have nuclear programs.
And these are just among the handful that we know about. Not many details are available, but what sounds unusual about this case is that the suspects appear to have somehow used businesses to channel funds to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (rather than using more conventional terrorist methods of hawala, wire transfers, cash smuggling, or charities).
From Agence France-Presse on Feb. 17 (h/t El Grillo):
Swedish police detained four people Tuesday on suspicion of having used six companies to help fund the Islamic State group, the Dagens Nyheter daily reported.
Police said a “large raid” took place in Stockholm as part of a probe into money laundering and undeclared work but declined to comment further.
Sources close to the investigation told Dagens Nyheter the suspects had ties to Syria and IS.
The paper said Tuesday’s arrests targeted three men and a woman aged between 31 and 50.
Swedish government agencies estimate that up to 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.19 million, 1.05 million euros) are sent to violent extremist groups every year…
AFP goes on to mention that over a hundred “Swedes” have joined terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria since 2012. These are, more precisely, mostly Muslim immigrants, refugees, and their young adult sons who have become residents of Sweden.
Following 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan, concerns about the use of hawala in terror finance schemes led Coalition forces and the new Afghan government to refrain from paying Afghan troop wages through hawala, although no other formal banking or payroll system was available at the time. Dr. Edwina Thompson argues that the preoccupation with hawala also distracted Coalition partners from confronting the true source of terror finance: Gulf donors.
Here’s Thompson’s recent TEDxClapham talk on the subject. Pay particular attention to minutes 11-14. But watch the whole video—it includes Thompson’s reflection on her own near abduction by militants while doing research in Jalalabad:
The point is well made. As Money Jihad has often said, hawala is not a source of financing terrorism, it is a method. We can regulate or eliminate methods, but determined sources of financing will find other ways of transferring value unless we stop those donors where they live.
Intelligence services and Spanish authorities say that with a network of over 250 hawala dealers, Spain has become a financial center for funding terrorists in Iraq and Syria. Hawala is the traditional Islamic method of transferring value without transferring physical money.
The news daily El País further reports that there are scarcely any controls over hawala businesses in Spain. The majority of the hawala dealers are Pakistani, while many of their customers are Syrian and Moroccan. A hundred Moroccans in Spain have already joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the mastermind of 9/11, used hawala agents in Logroño and Barcelona in the early 2000s. And Spain’s hawala system has only grown since then.
Hat tip to Well es bien for sending this over.