'Islamic State' likely to decentralise financing



A view of the failed IS currency, the dinar, before the group lost all of its territory in Iraq and Syria. Following the recent death of its leader al-Baghdadi, the group's financial situation will weaken further, experts say. [File]

The "Islamic State" (IS) group's financing is likely to shift from a "centralised" system in Iraq and Syria to a much more fragmented one following the death of its leader.

"They still have access to millions of dollars," Marshall Billingslea, US Treasury assistant secretary for terrorist financing, told reporters on November 20 after attending a Luxembourg meeting focused on countering IS.

He said that the group's financial operations are expected to move away "from a centralised model in Iraq and Syria into a much more regionalised approach" as it adapts to cope with the death of leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Al-Baghdadi died on October 26th during a US special forces raid on his hideout in north-western Syria, where he was holed up after the defeat of his so-called "caliphate" that has once stretched across northern Syria and Iraq.

Billingslea predicted that IS will rely "on their different regional bodies to become more self-sufficient", notably through ransoms from kidnappings, extortion and even the theft of cows in Nigeria, where it also has a presence.

The Luxembourg meeting brought together representatives of countries within a coalition that has formed to combat IS financing, under the banner Counter IS Finance Group.

The coalition, led by the US, Italy and Saudi Arabia, welcomed two new members: Malaysia and Thailand. It meets twice a year in different locations that are not communicated in advance.

On November 18, the US Treasury department added eight companies and individuals in Turkey, Syria, the Gulf and Europe to its sanctions list for allegedly providing financial support to IS.

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