#ISIS annual income nears 3 billion, with with total assets surpassing $2 trillion: estimate

From the @MoneyJihad blog:

Shattering previous estimates, Thomson Reuters Accelus says that ISIS’s annual income is $2.9 billion annually with total assets surpassing $2 trillion.

Most of the income comes from the energy sector, with 55 percent income coming from oil and natural gas. The remainder comes from extortion/Islamic taxation (12 percent); control of the Iraqi agricultural sector (primarily wheat and barley at 7 percent), the cement industry (10 percent), and phosphate mining (10 percent); kidnap-for-ransom schemes (4 percent); and donations (2 percent).

Hat tip to Gisele for sending in an infographic from their findings, which include the income breakdown:

Where Islamic State gets its money

The Union of Arab Banks’ love of secrecy has left them scared

From the Financial Crimes Blog of Kenneth Rijock’s, banking lawyer-turned career money launderer-turned compliance officer:

In September, a federal jury found Arab Bank liable for knowingly supporting terrorism efforts connected to two dozen attacks in the Middle East, marking the first time a bank has been held liable in a civil suit under the Antiterrorism Act. The verdict is expected to have a strong impact on similar legal efforts to hold financial institutions responsible for wrongdoing by their clients, and has made the effects of American law felt in far-off places.uab-logo-v-0

The Union of Arab Banks (UAB), in an Amicus Curae brief, filed in support of Arab Bank’s motions to overturn its liability verdict, has raised a well-founded fear that, due to their strict bank secrecy laws, other Middle Eastern banks will also soon find themselves facing potentially huge jury verdicts for damages, with little chances of success on appeal.

What the UAB is stating is, their members’ strict bank secrecy laws, which the banks chose not to violate in court proceedings, will result in possibly fatal damage awards, in connection with cases brought under the Anti-Terrorism Act. If a bank providing financial assistance to terrorist organizations with international sanctions is sued under the Anti-Terrorist Act, in the US, it will lose, and may be forced out of business and become a pariah in the financial community.

The UAB’s stated fear is well placed, but it ignores the possibility that member banks may indeed be guilty of providing material support to terrorist organizations.

Since bank secrecy in the Middle East will not be going away anytime soon, we should expect to see a serious increase in American private civil suits, targeting banks in the Middle East, for ATA violations, as dirty money is a major profit center for a number of banks in the region, and that includes funds being moved for Hamas, Hezbollah, IRGC, and the various branches of Al-Qaeda.

The landmark Arab Bank case could provide an effective weapon against banks who work with designated terrorist organizations. Perhaps the trial bar, acting for clients injured through terrorism, can do what regulators and the Department of Justice are unable to accomplish: shut down the banks that facilitate terrorism by bankrupting them through large judgments.

Read the full post here.

EU court says Hamas should be removed from terror blacklist

Today, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled that Hamas should be removed from the European Union’s terrorist list, an EU court ruled on Wednesday, saying the decision to include it was based merely on media and internet reports, rather than expert opinion.

Palestinian Hamas militant holds his weapon as he celebrates with people what they said was a victory over Israel, following ceasefire in Gaza City

How much more proof do you need?

Unfortunately, the decision seems to testify to the the disconnect by Europe from reality. As Prime Minisiter Benjamin Netanyahu put it, “Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization whose charter says that its aim is to destroy Israel.”

The General Court of the European Union, the bloc’s second highest tribunal, said EU member states could maintain their freeze on Hamas’s assets for three months to give time for further review or to appeal the ruling.

The court released a statement that the decision was decided on strictly procedural grounds, and do not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group.

It added that if an appeal against its ruling was brought before the EU’s top court, the European Court of Justice, the freeze of Hamas funds should continue until the legal process was complete.

Appeals, which can only be based on points of law, may be brought within two months. The appeal itself would typically last about a year and a half.

Read the full article here.