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Countering Terrorist Financing

The practitioner’s point of view

Edited By Mark Pieth, Daniel Thelesklaf and Radha Ivory

Terrorists need money to commit acts of violence and sustain their operations. Measures to combat terrorism therefore aim to prevent terrorists from raising, moving and using funds or other assets. The effectiveness – and the fairness – of these measures were considered at the second ‘Giessbach’ seminar on counter-terrorist financing (CTF) organised by the Basel Institute on Governance in October 2008.
This book contains essays presented at the seminar written by practitioners and academics with extensive experience in the field of CTF. The authors offer a diversity of views on the domestic, regional and international initiatives aimed at detecting terrorist funds in the financial system, preventing terrorists from moving their money via alternative financial channels and facilitating the recovery of terrorist assets. The editors conclude with in-sights into the ongoing challenge of making CTF measures both effective and legally sustainable in the lead-up to Giessbach III in December 2009.

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KRISTEL GRACE POH - Measures to counter the financing of terrorism 11

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KRISTEL GRACE POH Measures to counter the financing of terrorism I. Introduction The term ‘financing of terrorism’ is set out in the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.1 In simple terms, it means the financial support of terrorism or of those who encourage, plan or engage in terrorism. The term ‘terrorism’, however, is not so clear cut and may vary from country to country as it has social and political implications. For financial institutions, the financing of terrorism is often difficult to detect not only because of the different definitions of ‘ter- rorism’ but also because terrorist financing follows few hard patterns. For instance, an investigation into the financial transactions of some high profile terrorists and hijackers showed that most of the individual transactions were not unusual. The account holders appeared to be foreign students receiving money to fund their studies.2 The trans- actions would not have been flagged out as suspicious transactions needing special scrutiny by the financial institutions involved. In addition, terrorist finance may originate from legitimate sources, crim- inal sources or both. This represents a significant difference between Kristel Grace Poh is Head of AML/CTF at the Basel Institute on Governance. Prior to her appointment at the Basel Institute, she was head of Financial Ser- vices Cooperation and co-head of AML/CTF unit at the Monetary Authority of Singapore. 1 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 9 December 1999, available...

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