France: Jihadi Beekeeper Arrested For Using Honey Profits To Finance Overseas Terror
French authorities have arrested a beekeeper recently expelled from Malaysia where he was allegedly using profits from honey sales to finance terror groups in Syria.
The 42-year-old, nicknamed “Abu Bee” was arrested on October 11 by officials from the French anti-terrorist sub-directorate and indicted for financing terrorism and association with a criminal terrorist group, and placed in pre-trial detention at the request of the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office.
The arrest came just two weeks after the 42-year-old suspected Islamic extremist was deported from Malaysia where he had been exporting honey from the country, the magazine Le Point reports.
Investigations into Abu Bee’s activity began after Tracfin, a French government agency that fights money laundering and terrorist financing, came across a Jihadi network linked to al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham that involved two French citizens in Syria and found at least 340,000 euros had been deposited into their accounts from French sources.
Abu Bee was found to be connected to one of the more prolific donors to the Jihadists, a relative of the 42-year-old. Two other men have already been convicted and sentenced for financing terrorism in connection with the investigation, transferring cryptocurrencies from France to Syria.
Abu Bee, meanwhile, is believed to have visited Iraq and Syria in 2013 and 2014 and is accused of joining the Islamic State terrorist group. Investigators are now trying to determine the motivation for his donations as others in the network had claimed the money had gone toward family members detained in Kurdish prison camps.
France has been able to identify many French nationals engaged in terrorist financing in the last several years, with a 2018 report claiming that authorities had identified at least 416 people helping to send cash to the Islamic State.
Paris prosecutor François Molins stated that many of those engaged in funding the terror group did not give large sums of cash but small “micro-transactions.”