Islamic State's Secret Banking Network Prospers

(Wall Street Journal) Margaret Coker - A network of financiers in Iraq has for decades provided money transfers and trade finance for the many local merchants who shun conventional banks. When Islamic State seized control of areas in Iraq in 2014, it allowed the financiers to keep their business if they also handled IS money. Abu Omar, whose money-exchange offices in Mosul, Sulimaniyah, Erbil and Hit charge as much as 10% to transfer cash in and out of militant territory - twice normal rates - says, "Islamic State is good for business." These financiers ensure that millions of dollars in cash churn in and out of Islamic State's territory every day, muting international efforts to isolate the terror group from the global banking system. The cash travels on at least three routes. One begins in Istanbul and reaches Mosul. Another connects Amman, Jordan, with Baghdad. A third links Gaziantep in southern Turkey with Syrian regions around Raqqa, the administrative capital of Islamic State.

2016-02-25 00:00:00

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