Isis (Islamic State) is making millions of dollars for its war chest by playing foreign currency markets under the noses of bank chiefs, it was revealed yesterday.
The terrorist group is earning up to US$20 million ($30 million) a month by funnelling dollars looted from banks during its takeover of the Iraqi city of Mosul into legitimate currency markets in the Middle East.
It then makes huge returns on currency speculation, which are wired back via unsuspecting financial authorities in Iraq and Jordan, a British parliamentary committee was told.
Isis' white collar crime is now a major source of income, along with oil smuggling and extortion from people living in Isis-controlled areas.
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Details of the scam emerged during a hearing of a specially convened foreign affairs subcommittee set up to examine Britain's role in Isis financing.
The hearing was told that Isis finance chiefs would play the international stock markets using cash looted during their 2014 takeover of Mosul, in which the group got its hands on an estimated US$429 million from the city's central bank.
They also used money "siphoned off" from pension payments that are still being made by the Iraqi Government to civil servants living in the city.
The details were revealed to the hearing by John Baron, the subcommittee's chair, who demanded to know whether the British Government - which has pledged to help cut off Isis' finance networks - was taking proper action against it.
Tobias Ellwood, a junior Foreign Office minister, admitted to the committee that there was a "porousness" in the financial system but said that work was now under way to shut it down. Telegraph Group Ltd