APEC’s fight against terrorism received a boost last week when policy makers and financial experts received training in new ways to protect vulnerable businesses and professions from terrorism financing.
The training, in the form of a two-day workshop on 21-22 May 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia, was conducted under the auspices of APEC’s Counter Terrorism Task Force.
As Indonesia tightens regulation of its financial system, terrorism financiers may look to channel funds through other less regulated domestic sectors in the region, such as the so-called designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) which are not classed as financial institutions.
DNFBPs include real estate agents, lawyers and accountants, notaries, trust and company service providers, casinos and dealers in precious metals and stones. They can be potentially vulnerable to abuse by terrorists and money launderers because of their traditional lack of exposure to financial regulation.
The workshop, opened by the CTTF’s Chair Ambassador Purwanto, highlighted recent advances in ways to combat terrorism financing through DNFBPs, new methods used by terrorist groups and some of the challenges faced by APEC members as the group works to further develop effective counter-terrorism legislation and enforcement programs.
"Finance provides a lifeline for terrorism and it is critical for the world to curb all forms of terrorist financing," Ambassador Purwanto told participants.
“The regulation of DNFBPs is an essential part of this effort.”
In 2002, Indonesia established a Financial Intelligence Unit called the Pusat Pelaporan dan Analisis Transaksi Keuangan (PPATK) to focus specifically on money laundering and terrorist financing issues.
In a further step forward in February this year, Ambassador Purwanto discussed the Indonesian Government’s enactment of a counter-terrorism financing law giving it new powers to cut off lines of terrorist financing, including by freezing bank accounts and seizing assets. Under the legislation, financial institutions are obliged to report suspicious transactions to the PPATK which can then present cases to law-enforcement agencies.
The Australian-led workshop followed an earlier two-day CTTF workshop in Singapore in November 2012.