OFAC and the Turkish Ministry of Treasury and Finance published an announcement of a coordinated plan to take action for disrupting terrorist financing on January 5, 2023.
OFAC specified two entities and five individuals financing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In addition, the financial transferring network of the organization was revealed for the region. Therewith, both sides decided to implement asset freezing on all members' financials.
According to the Turkish Ministry of Treasury and Finance, this collaboration shows the importance of international alinements on terrorist financing.
The designation includes al-Khatuni family, and their network settled around the company named Sham Express. The company was based in Türkiye and founded by Brukan al-Khatuni in 2020. It mediated the financial transfers of ISIS between Türkiye, Syria, and Iraq. Also, it is known that 'Abd-al-Rahman 'Ali al-Ahmad al-Rawi (al-Rawi), the previous finance leader of ISIS, used the company for money transfers across different entities of the organization in Russia, Europe, China, and Africa. On the other hand, Sham Express facilitated different financial activities like smuggling gold, sponsorships, technical support of ISIS activities, and generating extra financial gain.
Among the individuals, these names came to the forefront;
- Abd Al Hamid Salim Ibrahim Ismail Brukan al-Khatuni (Brukan al-Khatuni)
- Muhammad Abd Al Hamid Salim Brukan al-Khatuni (Muhammad Abd Al Hamid)
- Umar Abd Al Hamid Salim Brukan al-Khatuni (Umar Abd Al Hamid)
- Lu'ay Jasim Hammadi al-Juburi (Lu'ay Jasim)
Brukan al-Khatuni, Iraqi terrorist, was living in Türkiye illegally. He is one of the key players in the ISIS financial system. He supported the network by facilitating the organization between countries. He was the head of foreign financing in Iraq until he moved to Türkiye in 2016. Then, he widened the network through Gulf Countries and also his responsibilities like recruitment for the organization. He played a crucial role in funding terrorist activities, international money transfers, planning attacks on the region, and sponsorships.
He worked with his sons, Muhammad Abd Al Hamid and Umar Abd Al Hamid. They were the individuals who transferred over $500,000 in June 2021 to facilitate the organization. Brukan al-Khatuni incorporated their services for the financial activities of ISIS in Türkiye, which is known as Brukan network.
Lu'ay Jasim, an al-Qa'ida member between 2008-2014, is another financial facilitator of the organization. He worked in Sham Express and financial transfers between Türkiye, Egypt, and Iraq. He was also living in Mersin, Türkiye illegally.
The sanctions included "all property and interests in property of the persons named above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by them, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons". All entities in both countries are obliged to implement sanctions and report to authorities.
Companies Must Be Careful to Detect Terrorist Financing
The announcement brings forward the significance of AML/CTF screening and monitoring one more time. All companies in the financial sector must be aware of the risks and have a comprehensive compliance program to detect illegal economic activities.
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