Banned Bangladeshi terrorist outfits Ansar Al Islam (AI) and Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) have reportedly transferred huge amounts of money to a terrorist group in Kashmir in the form of cryptocurrency. As per reports, a senior police official informed that a Special Action Group of the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) had arrested two AI terrorists in September 2019, who have revealed this.
The arrested terrorists were identified as Awal Newaz alias Sohel Newaz and Fazle Rabbi Chowdhury. The Ansar Al Islam (AI) terrorists revealed during the investigation that terrorist outfits have been receiving funding through the Bitcoin system since 2014. They admitted to having collected huge sums of money from Pakistan and Gulf countries in the form of cryptocurrency. The terror group had further sent funds to a Kashmir based terror group using the same cryptocurrency route.
It may be noted that virtual currency is banned in Bangladesh. A notice was issued by the Bangladesh government in December 2017 asking its people to refrain from making transactions in cryptocurrency.
Terror funding being carried out through cryptocurrency as it is difficult to trace
The arrested terrorists further revealed that they stopped collecting money through ‘hundi’ and shifted to Bitcoin because the former is now under the surveillance of the law enforcement agencies. They said that Bitcoin was an easier way to exchange illegal funds used in organising terrorist activities. Terror financing is largely being carried out with the help of cryptocurrency, as informed by Ahmedul Islam, the Additional Deputy Commissioner of the Special Action Group. “It is very tough to monitor the illegal transaction of Bitcoin as we have not advanced technical devices to monitor it. It’ll be a big challenge for the law enforcers to check the virtual currency in the future”, the Bangladeshi official said.
The US government had seized hundreds of cryptocurrency accounts in 2020
The US government had announced in August 2020 that it had stalled the attempts of terrorist groups to raise funds using cryptocurrency by seizing hundreds of cryptocurrency accounts, four websites and four Facebook accounts. About $2 million worth of cryptocurrency was recovered as per US officials.