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More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing


AP Paris
More than 70 countries committed today to bolster efforts in the fight against terrorism financing associated with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.
Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to "fully criminalise" terror financing through effective and proportionate sanctions "even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act."

The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate efforts to reduce the terror threat in the long-term. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Saudi Foreign Minister Abdel Al-Jubeir and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani were all present.
Macron, who has returned to France from a state visit to the United States, is expected to close the conference later with a call for the necessity for multilateral action.
Daniel Lewis, executive secretary of the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, said he is hoping that words will be put into action.
"When we have information - for example the U.N. list of individuals and entities financing terrorism - we need to make sure measures like asset freezing are implemented fully and quickly," Lewis told The Associated Press. Participants called for better information-sharing between intelligence services, law enforcement, financial businesses and the technology industry. They also agreed to improve the traceability of funds going to non-governmental organizations and charity associations.
Participants included countries that have accused each other of funding terrorism, notably in the Persian Gulf.
France has pushed for international coordination and more transparency in financial transactions. But it has recognized how sensitive the issue is, and saw the conference as a first step for coordinated action. The French organizers noted that IS military defeats on the ground have not prevented the group from pursuing its terrorist activities, along with al-Qaida -especially in unstable regions of Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Yemen, Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa.
Terror groups don't only rely on the cash economy - they're using increasingly hard-to-track tools like prepaid cards, online wallets and crowdfunding operations.
The IS group has also invested in businesses and real estate to ensure its financing. Islamic State revenues alone were estimated at $2.5 billion between 2014 and 2016, according to the French president's office.

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First Published: Apr 27 2018 | 1:10 AM IST

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