According to government records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Islamic State (ISIS) and its affiliates have assets ranging into the hundreds of millions of dollars across the Middle East, Central Asia and some parts of Europe and Africa. But, according to Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, multi-award-winning anti-jihadist journalist and counterterrorism expert, Islamic State has secretly transferred billions of dollars within the period of 2015-2017 into a number of countries in Africa, Europe and Asia in real-estate, casinos, hotels, restaurants and transport businesses. In the Philippines, this notorious jihadist outfit has investments in casinos, hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars and money exchange outlets.
Mr. Choudhury thinks, in the Philippines, most of the business establishments owned by Arabs are actually having secret funding from Islamic State.
He said, “It is not necessary that ISIS has its investments only in Mindanao province in the Philippines, it definitely has similar business outlets in other cities, including Manila.”
“Business establishments owned by Muslims in the Philippines as well as casinos should be investigated for the sake of tracing Islamic State money”, Choudhury said.
Shoaib Choudhury said, during the past several years, jihadist money has secretly entered a number of countries in Africa, Asia and even Europe, while most of these ISIS-funded business establishments remain untraced. Islamic State also has invested hundreds of millions of dollars behind Bitcoin and a major segment of its cash generated from Bitcoin remains in Italy, which is being regularly transferred to the United Arab Emirates, Britain, India, Uganda, Nigeria, Turkey and Egypt.
Commenting on ISIS money, internationally known counter-jihadist expert Robert Spencer said, “Why does the Islamic State have so much money? That is the question that few wish to face, and the reason why is clear from the answer: the Islamic State is flush with cash because there are some wealthy Muslims who believe in it. They consider it to be an authentic embodiment of Islamic doctrine and law, and so they finance it. But since the mainstream narrative is that the Islamic State twists and hijacks Islam, that fact is largely ignored.”