Western Union used to move money from Belgium to Islamic State fighters

Belgian authorities have discovered that around €200,000 was transferred to Belgians fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

No timeframe for the transfers was given, but the money is reported to have come primarily from friends and family of the foreign fighters. Funds were transferred  through money services businesses (Western Union was specifically named).

The activity was discovered by the Federal Police Anti-Laundering cell.

Analysis: While it is unclear how the police detected this activity, it may have been reported by Belgium’s financial intelligence unit through suspicious activity reporting from reporting entities. Given the number of reports circulating about the use of Western Union to transfer funds into Iraq and Syria, it seems possible that the money services business has increased its due diligence and reporting of suspicious activity.

Jessica DavisComment