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American woman charged with sending $85,000 using Bitcoin to IS

01:04 PM | 15 Dec, 2017
American woman charged with sending $85,000 using Bitcoin to IS
LONG ISLAND - A New York woman has been accused of laundering $85,000 to support the Islamic State through cryptocurrencies including the Bitcoin.

The accused, Zoobia Shahnaz who was being held without bail was charged with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Though the 27-year-old lady worked as a lab technician in the US but, she was born in Pakistan.

Prosecutors who are dealing probably the first case of its kind allege that the lady took out fraudulent loans of $85,000 (£63,000) in order to buy the bitcoin online to send the money through Pakistan, China and Turkey for funding the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

They continued that Ms Shahnaz obtained a Pakistani passport in July and booked a flight to Pakistan with a stop-over in Istanbul, intending to travel to Syria, however, she came under the radar of law enforcers and was arrested at John F Kennedy airport carrying $9,500 in cash, though the permissible limit for taking out money out of a country without declaring the funds is $10,000.

What raised the eyebrows of immigration officials was the discovery of her electronic devices which showed numerous searches for Islamic State-related material.

According to documents submitted in court, the lady who resides in Brentwood, Long Island utilised shell companies, "to avoid transaction reporting requirements, conceal the identity, source and destination of the illicitly-obtained monies, and, ultimately, benefit Isis,".

The prosecutors accused that Shahnaz, who was earning more than £52,000 a year in her Manhattan hospital job, made the transfers between March and August of this year.

Shahnaz appeared before Magistrate Judge Kathleen Tomlinson on Thursday afternoon and was remanded in custody, to appear again in court in January.

According to her counsel, she was sending money overseas to help Syrian refugees.

"What she saw made her devoted to lessening the suffering of a lot of the Syrian refugees and everything she does is for that purpose," Mr Zissou said outside the courthouse.

Legally, the accused can face a 30-year sentence for bank fraud and 20 years on each money laundering count.

The writer is a civil servant.

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Pakistani rupee exchange rate against US dollar, Euro, Pound and Riyal - 22 February 2024

Pakistani rupee remains stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 22, 2024 (Thursday)

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.6 for buying and 282.4 for selling.

Euro comes down to 300.2 for buying and 303.2 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 350.6 for buying, and 354.1 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.2 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.45.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 22 Feb 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 279.6 282.4
Euro EUR 300.2 303.2
UK Pound Sterling GBP 350.6 354.1
U.A.E Dirham AED 76.2 76.95
Saudi Riyal SAR 74.45 75.2
Australian Dollar AUD 181.15 183.15
Bahrain Dinar BHD 743.32 751.32
Canadian Dollar CAD 207.15 209.15
China Yuan CNY 38.89 39.29
Danish Krone DKK 40.38 40.78
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.74 36.09
Indian Rupee INR 3.37 3.48
Japanese Yen JPY 2.10 2.18
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 902.41 911.41
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.6 59.2
New Zealand Dollar NZD 171.68 173.68
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.43 26.73
Omani Riyal OMR 725.96 733.96
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.76 77.46
Singapore Dollar SGD 207.1 209.1
Swedish Korona SEK 26.53 26.83
Swiss Franc CHF 316.9 319.4
Thai Bhat THB 7.93 8.08

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