Nahla Abdel Moneim
Islamist groups are in need of building upon jurisprudential rules in order to shed blood and fight regimes and armies, and money is the driving force behind those frameworks, which will not continue without it. As long as these financing operations need secrecy to keep going, suspicions of corruption will always be associated with them.
With the emergence of ISIS in 2014, it was clear how quickly the terrorist organization took control of Iraqi and Syrian lands, the numerical spread and the mobilization and settlement operations that it was able to provide to immigrants, in addition to the advanced weapons with which he fought the security authorities and paid the salaries of the militants, what resulted. The fact that there was strong funding did not really know its fate, and was relying on some countries’ intelligence services.
Recently, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), in cooperation with BuzzFeed News, was able to uncover one of the most important sources involved in financing ISIS during its control over parts of Syria and Iraq. Confidential documents obtained through ICIJ sources indicated that suspicious bank transfers were carried out by global banks to Iraq without concern for the terrorist organization’s sway over the bank branches in Iraq. The investigation argues that banks should have stopped or suspended the transfers as long as ISIS was in control.
Large sums of money in service of terrorism
Investigative documents revealed that the branch of Deutsche Bank in the United States, along with the Bank of America, carried out bank transfers to Iraqi bank branches during the period from June 2014 to June 2015, the value of which exceeded about $4 billion.
Through 524 bank transfers from Bank of America accounts to banks in Iraq, $16.8 million were transferred in just ten days in February 2015. Then, within eight days in May 2015, another 244 transactions were transferred, amounting to about $28 million, with total transfers exceeding $41 million.
The transfers also included funds transferred from seven banks in Iraq to the United States, which amounted to large monetary values, as 109 transfers paid $900 thousand, with another 54 transfers valuing $7 million. There were also 81 consecutive bank transfers exceeding the value of $33 million.
The report mentioned that the banks or branches to which the money was transferred in Iraq are not specified. Accordingly, reports point to suspicions of corruption, money laundering, and financing extremists through these bank transfers.
Suspicions of supporting ISIS
It is assumed that ISIS’s control in Iraq and Syria after 2014 necessitated that banks in the United States be careful of sending and receiving foreign currencies. According to investigative reports published by several international media outlets, ISIS was able to impose its influence on Iraqi banks, with a total of 121 bank branches under its control, while about $830 million was stolen from them.
Consequently, the established bank transfer procedures show the lack of scrutiny of the legality of the funds, which was justified by Deutsche Bank with a technical failure that could not follow these funds.
The report stated that Deutsche Bank was sanctioned for its financing of Tehran, bypassing the US ban imposed on economic and banking dealings with the mullah regime, indicating that part of the funds transferred to Iraq may have been paid to groups affiliated with Tehran.
Based on the publication of these documents, Russia Today revealed on Monday, September 21, that the share price of Deutsche Bank fell by 8% during trading operations. This prompted the German bank and its main branch in the United States to issue a statement saying that it had opened an investigation into the matter with the bank’s data network and some Russians.