Coinbase snitches on ‘Father of Terrorism’ for trading cryptocurrency

A Cardiff man calling himself the 'Father of Terrorism' has been jailed for the third time after Coinbase told police he was trading crypto.

An extremist calling himself the “Father of Terrorism” has been jailed for the third time after crypto exchange Coinbase ratted him out, reports the BBC.

Police busted Khuram Iqbal in a raid on his Cardiff home in August, seizing his mobile phone.

The phone had both Coinbase’s app and dark web browser Tor installed — violating a 10-year notification order which demanded police know about his Coinbase and email accounts.

Police learned of the convicted terrorist’s crypto activity after Coinbase flagged his accounts with authorities.

Iqbal reportedly admitted to using crypto but denied his dark web activities.

  • Iqbal made 392 cryptocurrency transactions between November 2017 and March 2021.
  • He bought around £12,000 ($16,000) worth of crypto.
  • Iqbal transacted three times on the dark web in January last year.

Prosecutor Paul Jarvis said he operated “under the radar of police” by using two email addresses and crypto trading accounts.

Jarvis added there was no “lawful reason” for his actions on the dark web.

Iqbal was last released from prison in 2016 after a two-year stint for disseminating terrorist publications and possessing terrorist information.

He’d previously made two failed attempts to join Al-Qaeda. Iqbal flew to Turkey in 2011 and then Kenya a year later.

After being deported from Kenya, he was enrolled into the UK’s anti-extremism program, Prevent.

But by the time of his arrest in October 2013, the Cardiffian had posted over 800 pieces of extremist content on Facebook and Twitter, where he went by the moniker Abu Irhaab (Arabic for “Father of Terrorism”).

Police found eight copies of Al-Qaeda magazine Inspire saved to his laptop. One edition included a how-to feature on making bombs “in your mother’s kitchen.”

The former university student also advertised pro-extremist articles for sale across six different Facebook pages. He’ll now serve 16 months in prison.

Not just terrorism, Coinbase is a snitch from way back

While Coinbase appears to have made the first move regarding Iqbal’s suspicious activity, this isn’t always the case.

The Delaware-headquartered crypto exchange has released three transparency reports in which it details information requests from government and law enforcement agencies.

The reports offer statistical insights into which countries want the most info about Coinbase’s 73 million users.

Between January 1 and September 30 this year, Coinbase received

  • 5,562 requests from government and law enforcement agencies.
  • 84% came from the US, UK, and Germany.
  • 93% were related to criminal investigations.

According to Coinbase’s chief legal officer Paul Grewal, the requests often consist of “customer account information and financial records in connection with civil, criminal, or other investigative matters.”

They also include subpoenas, court orders, search warrants, among others. “We have an obligation to respond to such requests if they are valid under financial regulations and other applicable laws,” wrote Grewal.

Coinbase receives more requests from law enforcement in the US than anywhere else (source).

Read more: [Saudi-led jihadists love Ripple Labs’ XRP cryptocurrency]

Requests in the first three quarters of 2021 represent a roughly 27% increase in the total number received last year, according to Coinbase’s blog.

Latvia, Greece, India, Turkey, Bosnia, Hungary, and Russia sent information requests for the first time in 2021.

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