A number of advances that allegedly funded a network of jihadists in Syria were recorded as a result of a brutal French police operation – although the coupons were chosen in an attempt to hide the effect.
The police said in a statement that, as reported on September 30, “the constant monitoring of these networks has prompted terrorist organizations to seek further ambiguity using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.”
Since 2019, 29 partners are said to have supported the operations of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization, called the headquarters for the liberation of al-Sham.
The network is said to have originated from two French jihadists in their twenties, both believed to be currently in northeastern Syria. Both were sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia in 2016.
29 members of the network were arrested after purchasing cryptocurrency worth between 10 and 150 euros each ($ 12-176) several times in recent months on tobacco sales across France.
These outlets, known in French as tabacs, were integrated into cryptocurrency coupon services last year to stimulate the use of cryptocurrencies by the French public.
Today’s HTS funding report shows there are approximately 24,000 licensed Tapaks across the country.
In addition to the coupons that the defendants allegedly used for their Syrian partners’ Bitcoin (BTC) accounts, Tabacs supports a range of micropayment services such as recharge cards and cash vouchers. In particular, these services do not require identification.
The counterterrorism prosecutor’s office said the network’s use of cryptocurrency coupons represents a shift from the more popular cash option to supporting fraud.
As Cointelegraph previously reported, a number of armed groups, most of which have been identified as terrorist by some countries, are increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies to support fundraising activities. Most of these organizations are financially isolated, as many international banks block their services using mechanisms to prevent illegal financing of terrorism.