French authorities have arrested 29 people allegedly operating a sophisticated network of funding jihadists and al-Qaeda members with cryptocurrencies. The police suspected that the network has been active for over a year and has funded terrorist organizations for hundreds of thousands of euros.
According to the report, France opened an investigation in January 2020 when a service of the Ministry of Finances called Tracfin detected a complex network of funds transferred to French jihadists that remained in Syria.
Months later, this led to the massive nation-wide operation in which the local police arrested 29 people suspected of involvement with the network. The two primary targets identified as Mesut S. and Walid F. were allegedly the architects of “this network of terrorism financing.”
The authorities connected both of them with Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham – a group affiliated with al-Qaeda. Mesut S and Walid F were already convicted in France in 2016 and sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison.
The remaining 27 detained people for questioning are aged between 22 and 66. Although the police believe all of them to be injecting funds into the network, most had relatively smaller roles.