Ex-Federal Worker in Australia Accused of Financing ISIS

MELBOURNE, Australia — A 40-year-old Sydney lady who labored for the federal authorities is dealing with terrorism financing costs, after the police accused her of wiring tens of hundreds of dollars to the Islamic State in 2015.

Michael Willing, the assistant commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force, stated the girl was arrested Tuesday morning in Parramatta, a suburb in western Sydney. He wouldn’t say the place the girl labored within the authorities, what her ties had been to the recipient of the cash or to which nation the funds had been despatched.

“There’s no proof to counsel that her employment was in any manner associated to her actions,” Assistant Commissioner Willing stated at a information convention, whereas reassuring the general public that there was no impending safety menace on account of the arrest.

The police accused the girl, who was recognized as Linda Merhi, 40, of transferring “slightly over” 30,000 Australian dollars, or round $24,000, to the Islamic State. Assistant Commissioner Willing stated the girl can be charged with 5 counts of deliberately accumulating and making funds out there to a terrorist group. He stated the arrest was a part of Operation Peqin, a seamless police effort to establish and curb terrorist exercise.

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The case isn’t the primary one of many variety in Australia. A 16-year-old scholar and her 20-year-old male pal had been arrested in 2016 on costs that they helped increase cash for the Islamic State, a case that solid a nationwide highlight on the problem of terrorist financing within the nation. The lady’s lawyer argued in courtroom final yr that she had been “brainwashed” and “manipulated” by the person, whom she claimed to be in love with, and who had promised to marry her.

Parramatta, the suburb the place the girl was arrested, has a large Muslim minority. Some residents expressed dismay over the present case.

“These persons are brainwashed as a result of they don’t have the data,” stated Hossam Fahrouk, an Egyptian Muslim who immigrated to western Sydney up to now week. “Any regular individual, we is not going to settle for this. No faith accepts killing folks.”

Last November, the Australian authorities introduced that it might share monetary intelligence with different Asia-Pacific international locations, together with Malaysia and Indonesia, in an effort to curb terrorism financing within the area.

In December, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center, the federal government’s monetary watchdog, accused the Commonwealth Bank of Australia of failing to instantly report transactions it suspected of being tied to the financing of terrorism.

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