Rewards for Justice is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the disruption of the financial mechanisms of the terrorist organization al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab’s financial operations and facilitation networks help sustain its operations and fund its terrorist attacks that have resulted in thousands of deaths of innocent civilians and security forces in Somalia and neighboring countries.
Al-Shabaab engages in traditional terrorist funding methods, including bribery, extortion, hawala money transfers, kidnappings for ransom, money laundering, and personal couriers, but it has also developed its own sources of funding and become increasingly independent from external sponsorship. Its newest sources of funding include extortion of elders, businesspeople, and farmers; exploitation of the used automobile trade to its benefit; mobile money transfers, and theft of pastoralists’ livestock. Through territorial expansion, al-Shabaab also engages in illicit activities, such as illegal mining and trade/smuggling of commodities such as charcoal, heroin (which it resells to criminal groups), ivory, livestock, and sugar. Al-Shabaab also imposes taxes on individuals, businesses, pirates, etc., and collects tolls, fees, and taxes on agricultural produce and land.
The Department of State is offering rewards for information leading to the identification and disruption of:
– significant sources of revenue for al-Shabaab (e.g., extortion and taxation, smuggling of contraband, and weapons and drug trade)
– exploitation of local natural resources by al-Shabaab (e.g., logging, mining, and smuggling)
– financial contributions by donors and financial facilitators to al-Shabaab
– significant transactions by financial institutions and use of money service providers to transfer funds and access the international financial system on al-Shabaab’s behalf
– businesses or investments owned or controlled by al-Shabaab or its financiers
– international activity by front companies tied to al-Shabaab, engaged in financial transactions on its behalf (e.g., used vehicle trade)
– criminal schemes involving al-Shabaab members and supporters, who are financially benefiting the organization (e.g., kidnapping-for-ransom operations and theft of pastoralists’ livestock)
– illicit financial schemes of al-Shabaab (e.g., money laundering), and transfers of funding and material by al-Shabaab to its terrorist and militia proxies and partners
On March 18, 2008, the U.S. Department of State designated al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended. Later, on March 19, 2008, the Department of State designated al-Shabaab as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224, as amended. As a result, all of al-Shabaab’s property, and interests in property, subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with al-Shabaab. It is a crime to knowingly provide, or to attempt or conspire to provide, material support or resources to al-Shabaab.