July 28, 2021
Today OFAC designated a Tajik national named Farrukh Furkatovitch Fayzimatov for his involvement as a terrorist financier for Hay'et Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS). Fayzimatov, who uses several noms de guerre, including Faruq Al-Shami, is an independent correspondent covering the Syrian Civil War. Fayzimatov/Al-Shami, an active member of HTS, raises funds online for the group, including payments in cryptocurrencies.
OFAC Director Andrea Gacki stated:
“Terrorist groups like al-Qa’ida and HTS continue to raise funds, recruit online, and exploit the international banking sector to support their ongoing terrorist activities,” said Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Andrea Gacki. “These designations underscore this Administration’s commitment to disrupting support networks of al-Qa’ida and other terrorist groups that seek to attack the United States and its allies.”
As part of the OFAC announcement, Bitcoin (BTC) address 17a5bpKvEp1j1Trs4qTbcNZrby53JbaS9C was sanctioned and attributed to al-Shami.
Background on Al-Shami
Faruk al-Shami, born on March 2, 1996, holds a Tajikistani citizenship. Al-Shami is regularly seen with individuals believed to be associated with HTS in the Idlib, Syria region. OSINT research on al-Shami identified several years of history utilizing social media to push his extremist ideology on various platforms. Al-Shami describes himself as a "blogger and journalist reporting from the blessed Sham."
A review of al-Shami's social media accounts shows that his activity extends beyond the bounds of war zone reporting to providing support, online and in the real world, to HTS. A website identified as www[.]muhajeer[.]com/@faruq contains several videos where al-Shami interviews jihadists and highlights his close connection and fundraising efforts for HTS in Syria.
TRM also identified that al-Shami was directly linked to the brutal murder of French school teacher Samuel Paty. Al-Shami corresponded directly with Paty's murderer, Abdoullakh Anzorov, and appears to have played a key role in encouraging him to act.
On-chain analysis from TRM
TRM traced the flow of funds attributed to al-Shami and identified various donations made from multiple American, Russian, Asian, and European exchanges. Al-Shami has repeatedly enjoined his followers to support his operations in Syria, and has solicited donations in BTC, as well as other cryptocurrencies. Through these appeals, al-Shami appears to have received several thousand dollars worth of crypto.
TRM located additional addresses associated with the BTC address sanctioned by OFAC. All cryptocurrency addresses associated with OFAC's designation of al-Shami are included in TRM's database, which will auto-update any exposure to the sanction for TRM users. For further information on how these updates may affect your platform as a TRM customer, or for more information about TRM, please contact us directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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