Prime Minister Tony Abbott has today released a government report which outlines three features of terrorism financing in Australia.
Based on classified national risk assessment information, the report found while there is a relatively low incidence of terrorism financing in Australia, it remains a national security risk.
Here are the three characteristics of terrorism funding in Australia.
1. Terrorism financing is motivated by international tensions and conflicts.
Links between international terror groups and individuals in Australia drives the practice, something that was on display on Wednesday when two men were arrested in Queensland, suspected of links to the war in Syria and charged with terrorism offences. More on that here.
“The conflicts in Syria and Iraq currently pose the most significant terrorism financing risks to Australia. Some perpetrators attempt to disguise funds collected for terrorist groups by mixing them with legitimate business or fundraising activities,” the prime minister said.
2. Funds are channelled through conduit countries.
The federal agency with monitors transactions, AUSTRAC said recent cases of funds leaving Australia bound for terrorism groups “tend to use conduit countries rather than send the funds directly to high-risk jurisdictions”.
This practice makes it difficult for financial institutions to link international transfers and terrorism financing.
3. Funds get mixed up.
Legitimate money is mixed with funds collected for terrorist groups.
“This is especially the case for donations collected through charities and NPOs,” AUSTRAC said.
The process is called commingling and can disguise funds raised for terrorism among legitimate donations.
It’s 13 years since the September 11 attacks changed the world and with discussion in Australia erupting after the country’s top spy, David Irvine, revealed he was considering raising the terror alert status from medium to high for the first time this week, the release of the report is timely.
The prime minister said he is determined to disrupt terrorism financing and has allocated $20 million in funding to AUSTRAC to boost detection efforts.
“Terrorist groups need both material and financial support to carry out their operations,” Abbott said in a statement.
“Anyone who chooses to support terrorists is playing a direct part in the atrocious and violent acts they commit, and is putting Australian lives at risk.”
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