Treasury acts to disrupt ISIS financing network

Treasury acts to disrupt ISIS financing network
© Greg Nash

The Treasury Department on Thursday targeted an Iraqi national and money transfer company for its ties to ISIS's financing network.

The agency's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against Umar al Kubaysi and his company, Al Kawthar Money Exchange, blocking them from the United States financial system and freezing any U.S.-based assets. 

Officials say Al Kubaysi has moved money for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since 2006, long before it split off from al Qaeda in Iraq. The Iraqi national helped move funding and arms to ISIS and other insurgent groups across the country and Syria, often through his financial exchange company, according to OFAC.

Al Kawthar Money Exchange acted in financial transfers worth approximately $2.5 million with another Iraq-based money exchange associated with the ISIS financial network, according to OFAC. 

“The Treasury Department designates those who make it possible to move funds in and out of ISIS-controlled territory as one way to disrupt ISIS’ financing networks. We are committed to shining a bright light on anyone who would attempt to provide terrorists access to the international financial system,” said OFAC Director John E. Smith.  

“These actions are part of a continued effort to target individuals and entities that willfully provide support to ISIS in order to constrict this violent terror group’s operational reach and shut off its access points to the international financial system.”

OFAC’s action comes one day after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would ask Congress for additional funding for the department’s terrorism and financial crimes operation.

“Let me assure you, I think this is indeed the most important function we have in Treasury, or at least right up there with collecting revenues and financing our government,” Mnuchin said Wednesday during a congressional hearing.