IS use eBay, PayPal to channel money to US

A smokes rises after an air strike during the fighting between the Syrian Democratic Forces and Islamic State in Raqqa Syria on Aug 10. Reuters

Federal Bureau of Investigation has reportedly unmasked a global financial network, which was used by a senior Isis operative to fund terror activities in the United States - under the cover of bogus eBay purchases.

The recently unsealed FBI affidavit, filed in federal court in Baltimore, alleges that Elshinawy was part of a global network stretching from Britain to Bangladesh that used similar schemes to fund Islamic State and was directed by a now-dead senior ISIS figure in Syria, Siful Sujan.

An American-born ISIS operative in his 30s was arrested past year in Maryland when investigators uncovered the eBay terror scheme, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"The government had alleged in a 2016 indictment that the American suspect, Mohamed Elshinawy, pledged allegiance to Islamic State and had pretended to sell computer printers on eBay as a cover to receive payments through PayPal, potentially to fund terror attacks".

Some of the key players in the alleged network, which also bought military-grade surveillance equipment that could be used for aerial targeting, were arrested or killed in a coordinated global sweep in December 2015.

Elshinawy admitted to investigators that he was told to use the funds for terror attacks in the USA, although he never carried one out. Those funds were used to buy a laptop, a cellphone, and a VPN to communicate with IS, according to the affidavit.

But after his arrest in December 2015, Elshinawy claimed that he never meant to carry out such an attack and was only trying to get money from ISIS, according to a release from the US Department of Justice.

Sujan was the former director of computer operations for ISIS, the affidavit said, and was killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2015.

Similarly, PayPal told the newspaper that their portal "invests significant resources" into reporting suspicious activity.

A statement from eBay said the company has "zero tolerance for criminal activity" on their site.

Elshinawy claims he did not plan to plan to carry out an attack, and he's now awaiting trial.

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