Combating Financial Crime and Terror Financing
Despite the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the militant Islamic group ISIS, in a US special forces raid in Syria in October 2019, the organisation remains intact and a major threat. It is under serious pressure and losing territory across Syria and Iraq, but it is regrouping and re-planning its next steps in the region and further afield. It was ISIS that claimed responsibility for the London Bridge stabbings in November that killed two people, though it did not provide any evidence.
Terrorist groups are spawned by a broad range of ideologies, not just those based on religion. Proponents of terror come from many sectors of society—the extreme left, the extreme right, nationalists and, on a less violent scale, even animal rights activists.
Ideologically inspired violence will always be with us, but the threat can be reduced through better intelligence, enhanced security and disrupting the terrorist’s money supply.
This article examines the efforts to fight the financing of terrorism by combating the financial crime of money laundering; the AML V directive and the FATF’s ongoing efforts and recommendations to stop money laundering and the related financing of terrorism. Financial institutions and their compliance departments, and governments must work together cross-border and find ways to facilitate information sharing in order to follow the money and identify/stop those that are providing and receiving funds being pushed through the banks to support terror.