Isil is making millions of dollars for its war chest by playing foreign currency markets under the noses of bank chiefs, it was revealed yesterday.
The terrorist group is earning up to $20m (€18m) a month by funnelling dollars looted from banks during its takeover of the Iraqi city of Mosul into legitimate currency markets in the Middle East.
It then makes huge returns on currency speculation, which are wired back via unsuspecting financial authorities in Iraq and Jordan, a parliamentary committee was told. Isil's white collar crime is now a major source of income, along with oil smuggling and extortion.
Details of the scam emerged during a hearing of a specially convened foreign affairs subcommittee set up to examine Britain's role in Isil financing.
The hearing was told that Isil finance chiefs would play the international stock markets using cash looted during its 2014 takeover of Mosul, in which the group got its hands on an estimated $429m from the city's central bank.
It also used money "siphoned off" from pension payments that are still being made by the Iraqi government to civil servants living in the city.
The details were revealed to the hearing by John Baron, the subcommittee's chair.
"The cash that Isil has looted, along with siphoned-off pension payments, is routed into Jordanian banks and brought back into the system via Baghdad," he said. "That allows the system to be exploited by Isil, in that they take a turn [profit] on the foreign currency actions and siphon that cash back."