Convicted terrorist in Australia transferred funds to Malaysia: Reports

PETALING JAYA- An Australian money remittance company linked to the family of a convicted terrorist is being investigated by the police over suspicious transfer of funds to Malaysian individuals, reported The Australian.

It reported that the Australian Federal Police was investigating Bisotel Rieh Global Money Transfer over A$9million (S$10.2 million) in missing funds, some of which authorities fear might have been used to finance Australians fighting with the Islamic State.

Financial intelligence and compliance agency AUSTRAC announced it had suspended the company, which trades in the western Sydney suburb of Lakemba, after failing to declare the A$9mil funds transferred out of Australia.

The Australian reported that one of the directors of the company, Damour Sharrouf is supposedly the sister of Khaled Sharrouf, an Australian fighting with the Islamic state.

Khaled Sharrouf gained infamy last month after tweeting a picture of his nine-year-old son holding up the severed head of a slain Syrian soldier by his hair.

AUSTRAC chief executive John Schmidt was reported to have said that Bisotel Rieh, which specialises in money transfers to the Middle East, failed to declare A$9 million between January and August this year.

"The figures don't appear to match. It's a fairly big difference in a short space of time.

"We are satisfied that the continued registration ... may involve a significant financing-of-terrorism risk,'' Schmidt was quoted as saying by The Australian.

Documents released by AUSTRAC showed that the agency's officers had visited the business in May and established that it "arranged for bulk cash to be smuggled from Turkey into Lebanon", apparently because it had been unable to access bank accounts in Lebanon.

The Australian reported that this revelation prompted a larger investigation, leading to revelations that the company transferred three sums of money totalling about A$38,000 to an unnamed individual in Malaysia.

AUSTEC also said that it was "seemingly coincidental" that the agency sent another transfer to Malaysia during the same period.

Khaled Sharrouf fled to Syria with fellow fighter Mohamed Elomar late last year, transiting through Malaysia.