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ISIS used PayPal, eBay to get money into the US for terror attacks, FBI says

Terrorist group ISIS allegedly used PayPal and eBay to transfer money into the US for nefarious purposes, according to a recently unsealed FBI affidavit.

The operative is US citizen Mohammed Elshinawy, who sold printers on eBay as a cover up in exchange for PayPal money transfers meant to fund terrorist attacks in the United States. Elshinawy received almost $8,000 from operatives in Syria and Egypt, which he used to buy various gadgets and pay for a private VPN to safely communicate with ISIS.

“We have zero tolerance for criminal activity on eBay and have robust systems in place to identify and prevent it,” eBay wrote on Twitter.

31-year-old Elshinawy was arrested in December 2015 following a surveillance operation, yet he is only part of a larger, international network run by now deceased Siful Sujan, former director of computer operations at ISIS, federal prosecutors say.

Originally from Bangladesh, Sujan was a former businessman based in Cardif who moved to Syria in 2014. He was killed in an airstrike on December 10, 2015.

According to federal prosecutors, Elshinawy had already told his brother about his wish to die in the name of ISIS, while investigations found he used social media to contact a friend from the Middle East to deliver the message about his support for the terrorist group.

“According to the allegations in the complaint, Mohamed Elshinawy received money he believed was provided by ISIL in order to conduct an attack on U.S. soil,” Assistant Attorney General Carlin said at the time.

“When confronted by the FBI, he lied in order to conceal his support for ISIL and the steps he took to provide material support to the deadly foreign terrorist organization. He will now be held accountable for these crimes.  The National Security Division’s highest priority is counterterrorism and we will continue to pursue and disrupt those who seek to provide material support to ISIL.”

Elshinawy has pleaded not guilty.

About the author

Luana PASCU

From a young age, Luana knew she wanted to become a writer. After having addressed topics such as NFC, startups, and tech innovation, she has now shifted focus to internet security, with a keen interest in smart homes and IoT threats. Luana is a supporter of women in tech and has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and startup culture.

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