A large group of accomplices, who allegedly financed a jihadist network in Syria, were arrested after a special operation by the French police – despite choosing cryptocurrency vouchers in an attempt to cover up their traces.
The police said in a statement that “the constant monitoring of these networks has prompted terrorist organizations to seek more obscurity with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin,” as reported on September 30th.
Since 2019, 29 aides have reportedly supported the activities of an Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organization called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
The architects of the network are alleged to be two French jihadists in their twenties, and they are believed to be located in northeastern Syria. Both were sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison in 2016.
29 network members were arrested after they were caught buying cryptocurrency vouchers worth between 10 and 150 euros each ($ 12-176) multiple times in recent months in tobacco stores across France.
These outlets, known in French as tabacs, were integrated into cryptocurrency services last year to encourage the adoption of cryptocurrency by the French public.
Today’s HTS funding report indicates that there are currently around 24,000 licensed tobacco products in the country.
Besides the coupons that the defendants allegedly used to fund the Bitcoin (BTC) accounts of their Syrian companies, these tobacco support a number of small payment services such as cash replenishment and cash vouchers. In particular, these services do not require identification.
The Counter-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office said the network’s use of cryptocurrency coupons represented a departure from the more popular option for cash to support unscrupulous activities.
As Cointelegraph previously reported, a number of armed groups, most of which have been identified in some countries as terrorist organizations, are increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies to support fundraising activities. Most of these organizations are financially isolated, and many global banks have shut down their services using mechanisms to prevent the illegal financing of terrorism.