The total revenue from the Islamic State’s sale of crude oil has shrunk to $2 million a month, requiring them to look for new sources of finance, Vassily Nebenzya, the Russian Ambassador to the UN said on Thursday at a meeting of the UN Security Council.
“As a result of successful operations of the Syrian Armed Forces that enjoy the support of the Aerospace Force of the Russian Federation, the IS has lost access to the vital oil and gas deposits and to the channels for their transportation and sales,” he said.
“The data at our disposal indicates the organization was getting $ 2 mln a month at the most at the end of 2017,” Nebenzya said. “As for their overall revenues in the Middle East, they’ve fallen to $ 3 mln a month.”
He cited by way of comparison the UN data for 2016, which suggest the IS had earned $ 260 mln from the sales of crude oil.
“In these conditions, the IS has plunged into a frantic search for new sources of subsistence,” Nebenzya said. “They’re refining their skills in the utilization of up-to-date technologies. For instance, accomplices of the terrorists steal the monies of innocent civilians through internet shops in one of the countries neighboring Syria.”
“Nor are the fighters for the Caliphate ashamed of making money through online casinos,” he said adding that the militants were using intensively the already established system of messengers and the Hawala an informal system of financial settlements in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, which experts believe is closely linked to money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
“The IS criminal earnings increasingly often reach the accounts of quite respectable financial institutions in the Persian Gulf, Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia,” Nebenzya said, adding that Russia had long submitted all the information available to it to the Financial Action Task Force [FATF].
He called attention to the IS striving to invest in legal businesses outside the Middle East.
“Some Western companies also seem to have an itch to do business with terrorists,” Nebenzya said. “We think such issues deserve investigation by authorities of the countries where they crop up.”.