U.S. investigators discovered a worldwide financial network run with a senior Malaysian State official that funneled money to an alleged ISIS operative at the U.S. through fake eBay transactions, based on a recently unsealed FBI affidavit.
The alleged receiver of the funds was an American citizen from his early 30s who had been detained more than a year ago from Maryland after a protracted Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance operation that found the first hints to the supposed community.
The authorities had alleged at a 2016 indictment that the American defendant, Mohamed Elshinawy, pledged allegiance to Islamic State and had pretended to market computer printers on eBay as a cover to station payments for Islamic State via PayPal, possibly to fund terror attacks.
The recently unsealed FBI affidavit, filed in federal court in Baltimore, alleges that Mr. Elshinawy was a part of a global network extending from Britain to Bangladesh that used similar schemes to fund Islamic State and had been led by a now-dead senior ISIS figure in Syria, Siful Sujan.
The U.S. has stated Mr. Elshinawy told investigators he was instructed to use the money for operational purposes at the U.S., such as a possible terror attack. He’s pleaded not guilty to encouraging the terror group, and now is in federal custody awaiting trial. His attorney declined to comment.
The situation suggests how Islamic State is attempting to harness holes in the vast online financial world to fund terror outside its own borders.
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