Cutting cash flows to terrorists
- Set up a European financial intelligence platform to counter terrorism
- List individuals and entities operating under opaque regimes
- Monitor suspicious organisations and transactions, pre-paid cards and virtual currencies
To stop money flowing to terrorists, EU countries should track suspicious transactions and charities, and share intelligence more proactively, urge MEPs.
Cutting off sources of funding such as illicit trade in goods, firearms, oil, drugs, cigarettes and cultural objects is vital to fight terrorism, MEPs say in a non-legislative resolution voted on Thursday.
They point out that some of this funding is generated within Europe, e.g. by international non-profit organisations, charities, foundations and networks, which are well connected within the EU and provide cover for abusive practices.
MEPs urge the EU Council, Commission and External Action Service to:
- step up proactive information exchange and coordination among financial institutions, law enforcement and intelligence agencies via a European counter-terrorism financial intelligence platform, which could be run by EUROPOL, and include a database of suspicious transactions,
- draw up a list of individuals and entities operating under opaque regimes with high rates of suspicious transactions, and step up the monitoring of suspicious organisations engaged in illicit trade, smuggling, counterfeiting and fraudulent practices,
- oblige banks to monitor pre-paid debit cards, so as to ensure that they can only be reloaded via bank transfers and personally identifiable accounts,
- monitor places of worship and education, centres, charities, and cultural associations, where there is reasonable suspicion of ties to terrorist groups, and
- assess whether virtual and crypto currencies, block chain and FinTech technologies help fund terrorism and should be regulated by EU rules.
Parliament’s recommendations on cutting off sources of income for jihadists were passed by 533 votes to 24, with 43 abstentions.
Rapporteur Javier Nart (ALDE, ES) said: “We are proposing a new “microfinance” approach aimed at cutting off transfers of funds to jihadi terrorist groups: better checks on anonymous pre-paid debit cards, monitoring of funds received by cultural and worship centres as well as setting up a common information platform for intelligence services and a register of suspicious transactions.”