Finance

ISIS sent terror money to United States operatives through eBay, PayPal

ISIS sent terror money to United States operatives through eBay, PayPal

A senior member of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) used PayPal and fake eBay transactions to send money to an alleged operative of the terrorist group in the U.S., according to an affidavit disclosed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, WSJ reports.

The 30-something man, who pledged allegiance to the terror group, was part of a global network that operated from the United Kingdom to Bangladesh and was run by Siful Sujan - a senior ISIS leader who was killed in a 2015 air strike, according to an Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit.

The man who allegedly received the money was American citizen Mohamed Elshinawy, arrested a year ago in Maryland.

The suspect pledged allegiance to ISIS and used eBay to pretend to sell computer printers but instead received funds from overseas through PayPal, the Journal said. He has pleaded not guilty to supporting the terror group, and now is in federal custody awaiting trial.

He admitted to investigators that he was told to use the funds for terror attacks in the U.S., but claimed he never planned to carry one out.

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But after his arrest in December 2015, Elshinawy claimed that he never meant to carry out such an attack and was only trying to get money from ISIS, according to a release from the US Department of Justice. His lawyer declined to comment.

But some alleged perpetrators inspired by Islamic State have gotten small sums through low-level fraud such as check scams, or through financial channels where regulators have been paying less attention. A former Treasury official equated policing terror funding in the burgeoning financial marketplace to "looking for a needle in a massive haystack".

Similarly, PayPal told the newspaper that their portal "invests significant resources" into reporting suspicious activity.

A spokesman for eBay said the company is closely working with law enforcement on the case, stressing that it has "zero tolerance" for criminal activities on its platform.


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