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IPOB, criminals using betting sites and crowdsourcing to finance terrorism – NFIU

IPOB, criminals using betting sites and crowdsourcing to finance terrorism - NFIU
IPOB, criminals using betting sites and crowdsourcing to finance terrorism - NFIU

Through global crowdfunding and sports betting platforms, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit has uncovered the purported funding of terrorist activities in Nigeria by bandits, the Indigenous People of Biafra, and other terror groups.

The financial intelligence unit disclosed how affiliates in 22 countries, who have at least 27 entities registered under the group’s name, helped IPOB receive funding.

Six of the registrations were made in the United Kingdom, and seven were made in the United States, according to the NFIU.


It added that “The analysis further indicates that the group (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, then later disbursed for various operations.”

Our correspondent received a newsletter from the NFIU’s Counter-Financing of Terrorism Department on Tuesday, which contained information about the development.

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

According to the NFIU, a betting platform simply known as “XC” reported a suspicious transaction involving 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.

A terrorist trying to avoid detection was discovered in another instance by the financial intelligence unit; it was observed that the person used credit cards to buy tickets to high-risk locations and made systematic cash withdrawals from various ATMs.

The NFIU clarified that the person would use different routes of transportation if he went over his withdrawal limit.

“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 stated

The NFIU also urged law enforcement agencies to look into transactions involving people connected to known terrorists or financiers, unauthorized tax collection or forced donations in areas where terrorism is a concern, and Bureau de Change operators who facilitate transfers within suspected networks.

The unit is also looking for multiple cash deposits in bank accounts, large deposits made to point-of-sale operators that are then followed by cash withdrawals, money transfers from Nigeria to high-risk countries, recruiting people to open multiple bank accounts, and financial transfers to charities associated with terrorism.

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