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FBI reveals ISIS is using PayPal and eBay to send money

Maryland State News.Net - Saturday 12th August, 2017

NEW YORK, U.S. - According to a recently revealed affidavit, the FBI is said to have found a global financial network run by an ISIS senior official, who is believed to be sending money into the U.S. using PayPal and eBay. 

The FBI said it had found the individual was sending money to the U.S. for potential attacks.

The affidavit said that the recipient of the money was Mohamed Elshinawy, a U.S. citizen in Maryland. 

FBI said that Elshinawy allegedly had sworn allegiance to ISIS and received thousands of dollars, with the intention to use the money to carry out terror attacks.

The FBI said Elshinawy pretended to sell computer printers on eBay as a cover up in order to receive payments from ISIS through PayPal.

It further noted that Elshinawy was part of global network that spanned from England to Bangladesh that used similar tactics to fund the terrorist group. 

The affidavit also revealed that other alleged operatives of the network were arrested in the U.K. and Bangladesh. 

The financial network was reportedly directed by a senior ISIS member in Syria, Siful Sujan, who was reportedly killed in a drone strike in 2015. 

It was also revealed that the network operated through a British tech company founded by Sujan, with offices in Bangladesh and that the firm was also setting up a branch in Turkey.

Reports revealed that in July 2015, the FBI questioned Elshinawy over a $1,000 Western Union transfer and he had then claimed the money came from his mother.

He then said it was so he could buy an iPhone for a friend. 

After the FBI told him he could face charges for lying to authorities, Elshinawy told officials it was given to him by a childhood friend who had been arrested for terrorism-related offenses and had fled to Syria.

According to reports, Elshinawy said he was talking to an ISIS operative, but he tried to paint a picture to the FBI that he just wanted to scam money from the terrorist network, calling the group “thieves.”

He informed the FBI then that he had received $4,000 from the operative, further revealed that the first payment was $3,000 in May 2015 through the company via eBay and PayPal.

Elshinawy also had a second interview with the FBI, in which he said he received another $1,200 via PayPal through the printer scheme on eBay. 

The FBI report also revealed that it reviewed PayPal records and found that Elshinawy did not tell the agency about at least $3,500 out of the $7,700 of funds he received from Sujan’s company. 

Authorities believe Elshinawy received a total of $8,700 from individuals linked to ISIS.

eBay said in a statement, “eBay has zero tolerance for criminal activity on our marketplace. A total of two transactions (for printers) took place on the eBay marketplace for approximately $1,200, and we subsequently worked with law enforcement to bring this individual to justice.”

PayPal said it works with authorities during investigations.

PayPal spokesman Justin Higgs said in a statement, “PayPal works closely with law enforcement, including in this matter, and responds quickly to lawful requests to support agencies in their investigations. The company proactively reports any suspicious activities and invests significant time and resources into our vigilant efforts to prevent terrorist activity on the PayPal platform.”

Elshinawy was arrested more than a year ago, after the FBI had closely investigated him. 

He pleaded not guilty and is currently awaiting trial.

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