CANBERRA – A new Southeast Asian group, with members coming from ASEAN countries has been set up to counter the funding of terrorism in the region, Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan has announced.
Keenan, Australia’s Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter-Terrorism, revealed the new South East Asia Counter-Terrorism Financing Working Group (SEA CTFWG) while speaking at the Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) Summit in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
The group will be made up of Association of Southeast Asian Nations members which participated in the CTF Summit: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines.
The Australian Transaction and Reports Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) will co-lead the group.
It will work to disrupt the funding of terrorism by countering the exploitation of economic assets and civilians, preventing groups from providing support to Islamic State (IS) and preventing the use of international financial systems by terrorists.
“The SEA CTFWG will coordinate sharing information among financial intelligence units and other regional agencies that have a role in counter-terrorism financing,” Keenan said in a media release on Wednesday.
“Collectively, intelligence generated through this initiative will provide regional authorities and industry partners with greater insights into the movement and tracking of funds to protect our community and harden our financial system from the threats of terrorism financing.”
The establishment of SEA CTFWG represents the first investment from the Australian government’s three-year, US$3.4 million package to support AUSTRAC and its partners as they fight to cut off IS and other extremist organizations in Southeast Asia.