Young digital natives are using the latest fintech to finance terrorism

Martin Ollman/Getty Images

Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin believes business has a key role in keeping Australia safe from terrorism and stopping increasingly sophisticated ways to move money.

The finance industry can monitor customers, uncover the patterns of terrorism ­financing and stop unlawful transactions.

“Today’s terrorism financing is largely about funding foreign fighters and today’s terrorists are young, they’re mobile and they’re digitally connected in ways that we struggle to understand,” Colvin told a counter-terrorism financing summit in Sydney.

“They’re using the same products and services that are making banking convenient for all of us. The same methods that a family might use to fund a son or a daughter at an end of year holiday can also be used to fund foreign fighters.”

Police are seeing a move to low value but high volume transactions. Terrorists are using crowd sourcing, store-value cards, load-and-go method travel cards, lines of credit, small loans and credit cards drawn to their limit.

Colvin said the finance industry can play an important role identifying new and emerging ways to move money.

“As an industry, you have the opportunity to extend that sophisticated approach you take to fraud, to the challenges of terrorism financing. Doing so will take imagination,” he said.

“We all need to show the public that our financial system is not open to abuse and that we are active and vigilant in protecting it.”

Paul Jevtovic, who runs Australia‚Äôs finance intelligence agency AUSTRAC, says terrorism can’t happen without some form of finance.

The number of suspected terrorism financing cases referred to the Australian Federal Police and ASIO in the 2014-15 year increased 300% to 536.

More than 40 Australians are reported to have died fighting in the Middle East.

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