Hertfordshire MP: 'Are contraband cigarettes helping ISIS terrorists?'
PUBLISHED: 09:41 09 February 2015 | UPDATED: 09:43 09 February 2015
A Hertfordshire MP has questioned whether contraband goods and cigarettes are funding murderous ISIS terrorists in the Middle East.
Charles Walker, whose constituency includes Cuffley, Northaw and Goffs Oak, referred to ISIS - the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria - by its other name ISIL, in a question in the House of Commons last week.
Mr Walker asked the Home Office what information it had on academic and other research conducted in the UK and other European countries, that establishes a link between the funding of ISIS and the trade in contraband cigarettes and other goods.
Responding to his concerns Karen Bradley, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, said: “The Home Office does not hold academic or other research of this sort.
“A number of departments are involved in the Government’s efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL and experts from across Government have spent considerable time analysing ISIL’s funding flows.
“Based on the information available, we believe that a substantial share of ISIL’s revenue is derived from the sale of oil and commodities, taxation and extortion.”
She added: “It is likely that revenue generated from the smuggling of tobacco accounts for some of this, although the amount is believed to be relatively small as a share of ISIL’s total revenue.”