France: Police Arrest 29 in Bitcoin Scheme Financing Syrian Jihadists

In an effort to stamp out terror financing and money laundering activities in France, the country’s authorities have arrested 29 persons involved in a cryptocurrency scheme used to finance terrorists in other countries, local media reported Tuesday.

The culprits were seen in real-time under surveillance financing a network of Syrian Jihad terrorists concerning fueling the country’s civil unrest.

Commenting on the matter, a statement by the anti-terror prosecutor unit revealed that the group in the past used to finance the terrorists via the traditional cash transfer of funds, which changed with time.

However, in 2019, the group behind the Syrian Jihad terrorist network resorted to buying cryptocurrency coupons, which they believe could help hide their true identity.

The Bitcoin coupons are obtainable at over 24,000 licensed tobacco outlets in France dubbed “Tabac,” which offers some other mini payment service platforms that do not require Proof Of Identity for coupons purchase and cashcard top-ups. Next, the crypto vouchers are sent to their Syrian allies, which, in turn, receive Bitcoin credits.

TheĀ  statement further explains the reasons behind the sudden change in funding methods, it said; “Constant surveillance of these networks prompted terrorist organizations to seek more opacity by using crypto-currencies such as bitcoin.”

The French police have also arrested two citizens of France, supposedly the architects of the network. The duo, Walid F and Mesut S both 25, are believed to work from Northeastern Syria.

The police traced other members of the group to the recent purchase of the Bitcoin coupons ranging from $12 to $179 worth, at different locations in France, on many occasions.

In a similar development, Coinfomania reported that terrorists have taken advantage of crypto accounts and allegedly used fundraising donations channeled towards militancy.