In Murky Oil Trade, Islamic State’s Illicit Proceeds May Be Impossible to Trace

By Kira Zalan and Colby Adams

Banks will find it difficult to identify the proceeds of illicit crude oil sales linked to Islamic State, the blacklisted terrorist organization now controlling a handful of Iraqi and Syrian oil fields. The group, which has operated under multiples names since its inception in 1999, is funding itself in part from "extortion-derived proceeds from Iraqi and Syrian oil resources," according to a U.S. Treasury Department spokesperson. The organization's sale of captured crude oil to local traders purportedly tops at least $1 million per day, by some estimates. But where that money goes and who ultimately handles it remains unclear. At...