France arrests 29 people for financing terrorism by cryptocurrency in Syria – Middle East Monitor

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French police arrested 29 people yesterday in a stabbing operation against an alleged network of financiers of extremist groups in Syria, in one of the largest such operations in the country.According to French counterterrorism prosecutors, the network conducted its fundraising activities through the purchase of cryptocurrency coupons which allowed it to send referrals to contacts in Syria who then credited them to bitcoin accounts.

This method of funding extremist groups and contacts is markedly different from the usual methods of transferring funds and money laundering to groups, with the rise in the use of cryptocurrencies offering possible alternatives to terrorist groups and their donors.

The prosecutors’ statement confirmed this, saying, “The constant monitoring of these networks has prompted terrorist organizations to seek more opacity using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.”

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These 29 people – arrested at different sites across the country – reportedly started their activities in 2019 and the investigation by the French authorities was launched in January this year. It was an antenna of the French Ministry of Finance called Tracfin that discovered the network, claiming that hundreds of thousands of euros are suspected of having already been provided to contacts.

It was not revealed who the individuals were or if they belonged to a specific organization, or to which terrorist group they were transferring funds, but state actors were increasingly encouraged to crack down on money laundering operations. money and militia funding in Syria and other parts of the Middle East.



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