FBI claims ISIS used eBay and PayPal to funnel cash into US

© Chris Helgren / Reuters

A senior member of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) used PayPal and fake eBay transactions to send money to an alleged operative of the terrorist group in the US, according to an affidavit disclosed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, WSJ reports.

The paper, unsealed in federal court in Baltimore, alleges US citizen Mohamed Elshinawy was involved in a global network that used eBay to fund ISIS. Elshinawy reportedly received nearly $8,700 through the use of fake computer printer sales from Islamic State associates.

The man reportedly told investigators he used a scheme dubbed "drop-shipping," that made it appear as if goods were bought and shipped to individuals linked to the terrorist organization, as a way of disguising the movement of money.

The investigation claims the financial network stretches across the globe, from the UK to Bangladesh. The scheme was managed by senior ISIS figure Siful Sujan, who was killed in an airstrike in Syria at the end of 2015.

Elshinawy was reportedly arrested a year ago and is currently in federal custody awaiting trial. He entered a plea of not guilty to the charges of backing the terrorist group.

According to the media, Elshinawy admitted he was told to use the received money for "operational purposes" within the country, but denied he planned any assaults in the US.

A spokesman for eBay said the company is closely working with law enforcement on the case, stressing that it has "zero tolerance" for criminal activities on its platform.

PayPal told the WSJ that the holding "invests significant resources" into reporting suspicious activity.

"We proactively report suspicious activities and respond quickly to lawful requests to support law enforcement agencies in their investigations," the company spokesman said.

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