MELBOURNE, Australia — A 40-year-old Sydney woman who worked for the federal government is facing terrorism financing charges, after the police accused her of wiring tens of thousands of dollars to the Islamic State in 2015.
Michael Willing, the assistant commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force, said the woman was arrested Tuesday morning in Parramatta, a suburb in western Sydney. He would not say where the woman worked in the government, what her ties were to the recipient of the money or to which country the funds were sent.
“There’s no evidence to suggest that her employment was in any way related to her activities,” Assistant Commissioner Willing said at a news conference, while reassuring the public that there was no impending security threat as a result of the arrest.
The police accused the woman, who was not identified, of transferring “a little over” 30,000 Australian dollars, or around $24,000, to the Islamic State. Assistant Commissioner Willing said the woman would be charged with five counts of intentionally collecting and making funds available to a terrorist organization. He said the arrest was part of Operation Peqin, a continuing police effort to identify and curb terrorist activity.
The case is not the first one of the kind in Australia. A 16-year-old student and her 20-year-old male friend were arrested in 2016 on charges that they helped raise money for the Islamic State, a case that cast a national spotlight on the issue of terrorist financing in the country. The girl’s lawyer argued in court last year that she had been “brainwashed” and “manipulated” by the man, whom she claimed to be in love with, and who had promised to marry her.