October 4, 2018 | The Jerusalem Post

German Bank Transferred Nearly $44,000 to Terrorist Group Hamas

The reaction from the authorities was too late, the remaining balance was roughly $124 for the Hamas account at the bank.

BERLIN- A bank in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia sent $43,720 to the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Germany’s best-selling paper Bild reported on Thursday that the bank, which was not named, sent the money in February to the US- and EU-designated terrorist entity Hamas because the country’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) did not swiftly crackdown on the transfer.

The Bild wrote that the bank reported the suspicious transaction on February 23 to the FIU, an anti-money laundering unit of the customs agency.

Two months later on April 23, the FIU forwarded the case to the public prosecutor. The reaction from the authorities was too late, according to the newspaper. After the transaction was completed, the remaining balance in the Hamas account was roughly $124.

Free Democratic Party politician Christian Dürr told Bild that: “Across Germany, terrorism is being financed in the Middle East. The deficits in the FIU must finally be eliminated.”

The Jerusalem Post examined the federal German intelligence report regarding Hamas. The report says there are 320 active Hamas operatives in Germany. The number of Hamas operatives increased from 300 in 2015 to 320 in 2017. It is unclear why the German authorities have not arrested the Hamas operatives in light of Hamas’s terror proscriptions. According to a review of the North Rhine-Westphalia intelligence report published in 2018, there are 75 Hamas members in the state.

The Bild wrote that the case of the bank sending nearly $44,000 to Hamas was not out of the norm. There are at least 25 other such cases of illicit terror finance that have occurred. Germany’s customs agency declined to comment to the paper. The Post investigative series begun in 2016 has led to the closure of the bank and PayPal accounts of four German NGOs, including one individual, with ties to Hamas and the US- and EU-designated terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). All of the organizations also support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BSD) campaign against Israel.

The Post reported that the city-state of Bremen’s intelligence agency stated in its report that the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mustafa Community Center raises funds for the Lebanese terrorist organization in Lebanon. Germany permits 950 Hezbollah members to raise funds and recruit new members within German territory. The US, the Arab League, Israel, the Netherlands and Canada classify all of Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization. Germany and the EU merely proscribe Hezbollah’s so-called military wing as a terrorist entity.

Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow Benjamin on Twitter @BenWeinthal

Follow FDD on Twitter @FDD. FDD is a Washington-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy. 

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