European funding is a major factor for the continued proliferation of Al-qaeda, Boko Haram and other terrorist networks, an investigation by the New York Times has found out.
By paying ransom for kidnapped Europeans, Europe funds al-Qaeda’s global business across the globe.
Europe has, thus, become al-Qaeda’s cash cow. It purchases arms, trains and finances its members through these ransoms.
Ironically, even though they deny paying ransoms, it was found that European countries paid al-Qaeda and its direct affiliates at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid in 2013.
This is despite numerous agreements calling for an end to ransom paying, including the 2013 G8 summit, where some of the biggest ransom payers in Europe signed a declaration agreeing to stamp out the practice.
Quite naturally, the foreign ministries of Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland and other countries denied paying terrorists. But the United States Treasury Department was reported to have put ransom payments at around $165 million over the same period. These payments were through a network of proxies, and in the guise of development aid, the report said.
“Kidnapping for ransom has become today’s most significant source of terrorist financing,” said the Treasury Department’s Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, David S. Cohen, in a 2012 speech.
“Each transaction encourages another transaction,” he added.
While in 2003 the kidnappers received around $200,000 per hostage, now they are netting up to $10 million, money that the second in command of al-Qaeda’s central leadership recently described as accounting for as much as half of his operating revenue.
According to reports, in 2010, a state-controlled French company paid $40.4 million to rescue four French nationals, while another paid $17.7 million to rescue two French nationals from Togo and Madagascar, respectively.
In the previous year, terrorists received $12.4 million from Switzerland. In 2011, $5.1 million was received from Spain.