Terror funding: Legitimate transfers for an illegitimate act

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Mumbai, Oct 26: An amount of 25,000 US dollars or Rs 16,23,625 was received by a person to set up a travel office in Mumbai and investigations show that this was just a front to facilitate the travel for terror funders.

Terror funding into India has become a matter of primary concern and the Financial Action Task Force has indicated that it is groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami which are the primary players.

Terror funding a concern for India

There are newer methods that are being adopted by terror financers and the indication is that they are gradually doing away with illegal forms of money transfer.

In short the transfer of money for terror purposes is made to look as legitimate as possible, an officer of the Intelligence Bureau (Financial Wing) informed OneIndia.

Legitimate fund transfers

There are new methods that have been found for transferring money meant for subversive purposes. OneIndia had reported (Crowd-funding advertisements could be the next terror fund raiser) that crowd-funding advertisements could be the next source of terror funding.

However an investigation that was conducted into the transfer of money to Mumbai to set up a travel office suggested that bitcoins and paypal were methods used to move the funds. This particular operation involved nine persons- six Indians, one Pakistani and one US and Canadia citizen.

All were members of the Lashkar and they had over the past three years regularly sent money in Euros and US dollars. Although investigators are ascertaining how money in total had been sent in, there was one particular transaction which was worth 25,000 US dollars.

The money investigators say was being used for various purposes. There were funds being transferred for plotting strikes, setting up offices and fronts and also recruitments.

The strange part of these transactions was that all were legitimate in nature unlike what one would find a few years back where hawala was the key method for fund transfer.

New methods of fund transfer

Earlier one would see that terror groups heavily depended on hawala for money transfer. Money would be collected through private donations by setting up charity groups and then routed in to India through a hawala channel.

However all that is slowly changing and terror groups realizing that these methods have become easily traceable for the Intelligence Bureau have now adopted new strategy.

Crowd-funding advertisements are one form of collecting money. They set up an advertisement claiming that money is being collected for refugees and one the funds come in, the same is routed into a terror channel.

Off late, the use of PayPal to transfer money has become hugely popular with terror groups. In addition to this, they are also using bitcoins and CashU to transfer money, the Intelligence Bureau has also learnt.

The modus operandi becomes clear and when it comes to such legitimate forms of money transfer, the radar of the IB is normally low. All eyes are focused on illegal forms of money transfer such as hawala and terror groups are well aware of this.

The IB says that their job has only become more complex now. Terror groups will juggle between the legitimate and illegitimate forms of money transfer to confuse the Intelligence agencies.

OneIndia News

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