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IPOB, bandits using betting sites, crowdsourcing to finance terrorism – NFIU

It added that IPOB has several bank accounts in different countries where funds are being received from various contributors with the narrations'monthly dues, services, and for ESN,’ among others, which are later disbursed for various operations.

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The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), bandits, and other terror organizations are using international crowd funding and sports betting platforms to fund terrorist activities in Nigeria, according to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

Details of the development were revealed in a newsletter by the NFIU’s Counter-Financing of Terrorism Department.

According to the NFIU, seven of the registrations were made in the United States, while six were in the United Kingdom.

The newsletter disclosed that over $160,000 raised by IPOB through crowd-funding was funnelled to transmission, media, and broadcasting companies in Bulgaria, South Africa, and the UK.

It added that IPOB has several bank accounts in different countries where funds are being received from various contributors with the narrations’monthly dues, services, and for ESN,’ among others, which are later disbursed for various operations.

“The analysis profiled the leader of the group, his addresses, and his mobile numbers abroad, along with 53 other individuals associated with the dissident group. The report was forwarded to law enforcement for further investigation,’’ the newsletter read.

The NFIU further revealed that a betting platform, simply identified as ‘XC’, filed a suspicious transaction report on a 24-year-old Nigerian customer from North-Central Nigeria.

“This 24-year-old from Nigeria’s North-Central region received over N350, 000 in his betting wallet, believed to be ransom money from a kidnapping,” the NFIU said.

In another case, the financial intelligence unit exposed a terrorist attempting to evade detection, noting that the individual made structured cash withdrawals from different automated teller machines and purchased flight tickets to high-risk areas using credit cards.

The NFIU explained that whenever the individual exceeded his withdrawal limit, he would adopt alternative methods of travel.

“The terrorist then attempted suspicious transfers exceeding €1,000 to a local charity with potential links to terrorism. These transactions, along with others for luxury goods and escort services, raised red flags,” the newsletter added.

The NFIU further urged law enforcement agencies to investigate transactions by individuals linked to known terrorists or financiers, unauthorized tax collection or forced donations in terrorism-prone areas, and Bureau de Change operators facilitating transfers within suspected networks.

Other areas the unit wants security agencies to beam their searchlights on are multiple cash deposits in bank accounts; point-of-sale (POS) operators receiving large deposits followed by cash withdrawals; money transfers from Nigeria to high-risk countries; the recruitment of individuals to open multiple bank accounts; and financial transfers to charities linked to terrorism.

 

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