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Terrorism Financing Linked to Online Gambling

By: Ryan Alders, Monday February 8th 2010
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It is common knowledge that the UIGEA was initially passed along with the Safe Ports Act and was meant to prevent terrorists transferring funds using online casinos. Till now there was no specific instance of this happening that had been cited in the public domain. However, at the recent "Cybercrime in Betting and Gaming" conference in London it was revealed that security services are conducting 23 current investigations in which it is possible that terrorist organizations have used online gambling channels to transfer funds. This information was revealed by The Register.

Apparently these leads have come from the conviction of one Tariq al-Daour, who is regarded as the "godfather of cyber-terrorism for al-Qaeda". Al -Daour and two of his associates, Waseem Mughal and Younes Tsouli, were convicted of inciting murder through website exhortations two years ago. The three men allegedly used Windows based Trojans to steal credit card numbers. They then laundered the cash using online gambling sites. The three men are serving sentences totaling 38 years between them. There are also reports that Al-Daour had the effrontery to access online gambling sites from Belmarsh prison. He was even caught developing a website that urged terror attacks. His refusal to surrender his laptop led to clash between prison officials and a group of al-Qaeda sympathizers. Investigations also revealed that the three convicted men were listed as clients on a credit card company’s database. On the same database there were 17 others names whose date of birth, nationality and first name matched the convicted three. The trio had 190 pre-paid credit cards still in circulation with balances of ₤10,000 on each card. Al-Daour and his accomplices made over $3.5 million in fraudulent charges using credit card accounts stolen via online phishing scams and the distribution of Trojans. They carried out 350 transactions at 43 different online gambling sites using more than 130 compromised credit cards.

This information was revealed by Robert Mitchell, director of World Check, at the Cybercrime conference. He cautioned that the investigations underway could be mush more serious because they involved transnational groups spanning countries like Denmark, Sweden, the Baltic regions, Vietnam and China. Mitchell said that these countries are at greater risk and the volume of currency involved is staggering. Information from World Check should be pretty reliable. It is a private intelligence company that assists 49 of the world’s top 50 banks and 200 enforcement and regulatory agencies by sharing its database of known ‘heightened-risk individuals and businesses’ with them.

No doubt this information will be ammunition to those opposing the legalization of online gambling in the United States and more will be heard of this in the future.

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Comment by: Kerry Bonnenstien On: February 14, 2010
I couldn't agree with you more. Doesn't make sense and I think it's definitely just a ploy to attempt to enhance the position of the ruling for the enforcement of the UIGEA that's going to be coming up this June which I'm sure that most online casino players really aren't looking forward to.
Comment by: Dennis O On: February 13, 2010
Seems kind of ridiculous that claims are being made still to this day that terrorism is being funded by online casinos and gambling establishments online. What a load of BS that is. Some people are just so ignorant to write about these kinds of things. Maybe casino advisor you guys should start presenting the facts about things like this a bit better in the future ;-)

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