Last week, a student in India was arrested for allegedly using cryptocurrencies to sponsor the activities of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a terrorist group. The crypto assets involved in the allegations were not stated.
Financing Terrorists Using Crypto
According to a Sunday tweet by the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA), the student, Mohsin Ahmad, is an active member of ISIS who allegedly collected funds from sympathizers in India and in other countries and sent these funds to the terrorist organization in the form of cryptocurrencies.
A search operation for Ahmad on his residential premises was conducted by the NIA, which led to his arrest at his house in New Delhi, the capital city of India.
Ahmad’s apprehension is said to be part of the results of a suo-moto action by India’s counter-terrorist task force on a case pertaining to the online and on-ground activities of ISIS. Suo-moto means the power of governmental agencies to institute or take up cases on their own accord.
Although the NIA noted that the case is still undergoing further investigations, the Indian student was said to have appeared in a local court on Sunday where he was sent for a one-day remand. Ahmad will appear before an NIA special court on Monday.
Crypto-Linked Funding for Terrorist Activities
This is not the first time cryptocurrencies have been reported as being used to sponsor terrorists.
Earlier this year, Israeli authorities seized 30 Al’matchadun crypto exchange wallets that were linked to Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah (Hamas), an Islamic militant group, and confiscated the funds in them.
Cryptocurrencies worth millions of dollars to finance the activities of the terrorist organization were said to be transferred to these wallets hence, the reason for their seizure.
In September 2020, the French authorities arrested 29 people involved in a crypto scheme used to fund the activities of Syrian Jihad, an Islamic terrorist group, in other countries.
Before they were apprehended, the group had formerly sponsored the terrorists with fiat but later on resorted to buying bitcoin vouchers which they believe could help hide their true identity.