‘ISIL May be Using Bitcoin,’ Says FinCEN Director Jennifer Calvery
Speaking at the anti-money launcdering conference in Washington, FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery said the agency should focus on both tranditional payment methods and digital currency, which was used by ISIL to finance their operations.
Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Jennifer Shasky Calvery, said that bitcoin does not pose higher risks of terrorism financing than other payment methods. While speaking at the American Bankers Association/American Bar Association Money Laundering conference on Monday, Calvery noted it is necessary to concentrate on conventional ways of sending money as well, the American Bankerwrote.
Last week, it was reported that ISIL, a terrorist organization responsible for bombings in Paris, is widely using the digital currency for funding their operations. According to the group of hackers, called Ghost Security Group, members of terrorist organizations own several bitcoin wallets, with one of them holding more than $3 million in digital currency.
“There has been public reporting of connections of ISIL promoting the use of bitcoin and virtual currencies as a means of moving and raising funds, but I think we are also very focused on the traditional means of moving funds so I think we need to keep our focus on both areas,” Calvery, said.
The key topic discussed at the event was the growing anti-money laundering threats, due to the ongoing development of mobile payments and rising adoption of virtual currencies.
“We know they are very adept at social media and technology generally, so it is not a surprise that they might be interested in using emerging payment technologies as well.”
Calvery added that the Bank Secrecy Act database helped FinCEN to track ISIL’s funding. “We had the IT system up and running. We are able to share information quite easily,” she said.
During the her speech, Calvery also said that the agency has been collaborating with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to prepare and carry out bitcoin training programs for tax examiners to educate them on different aspects of the cryptocurrency technology.
It is clearly the cyber war against ISIL is gaining momentum. A popular group of hackers, known as Anonymous, declared war against the extremist militant group in a video uploaded yesterday on Youtube, saying the attacks in Paris that took 132 lives “cannot remain unpunished.” The video has already generated millions of views.
“Anonymous from all over the world will hunt you down. You should know that we will find you and we will not let you go. We will launch the biggest operation ever against you,” the man on the video said in French.
“We are going to launch the biggest operation ever against you. Expect many cyberattacks. War has been declared. Get ready. We don’t forgive and we don’t forget.”