5th Counter-terrorism Financing Summit in manila

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), in partnership with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the Indonesian Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK), hosted the 5th Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) Summit last 12 to 14 November 2019 at Shangri-la at the Fort, Taguig City.

The summit was attended by over 350 representatives from 29 countries consisting of officials and experts from financial intelligence units (FIUs), senior representatives from the policy, regulatory, law enforcement and national security agencies, the FinTech/RegTech industry, multi-lateral bodies, think tank organizations and from the academe.

With the theme “Together United—Strengthening Our Region,” participants reflected on the growth and substantial achievements of the summit and its working groups, since its establishment in 2015. This includes the evolution of the regional Financial Intelligence Consultative Group (FICG) to improve the understanding of key regional CTF risks and strengthen operational collaboration between regional FIUs on mutually agreed transnational crime priorities.

The summit addressed a range of key and emerging money laundering and terrorism financing issues, such as child exploitation, human trafficking, wildlife smuggling, trade-based money laundering, and corruption. The abuse of crowdfunding, social media platforms, and virtual assets was also considered.

“The summit has evolved into an innovative and leading example of international cooperation to understand and respond to the challenges of terrorism financing and other forms of financial threats,” said Secretary Hermogenes C. Esperon Jr., National Security Adviser and Director-General of the National Security Council of the Philippines, during the opening ceremony. “Our own FIU, the AMLC, has been a trusted and active partner in this endeavor.”

In his welcome remarks, AMLC Secretariat Executive Director Mel Georgie B. Racela, disclosed that “because of collaboration with domestic law enforcement agencies, the estimated value of frozen assets has amounted to over one billion pesos from January 2018 to July 2019.” This “includes PhP52 million worth of terrorism funds, which is approximately US$1 million dollars.” Further, “the estimated value of assets subject to civil forfeiture from 2018 to September 2019 alone has already amounted to over PhP600 million, bringing the total to nearly PhP1.7 billion, beginning 2017.”

“Money is the lifeblood of terrorists and organized crime syndicates. They cannot operate without it. Cutting off their life source is thus a crucial step to undermine their capabilities and frustrate their ability to carry out terrorist attacks,” Secretary Esperon said. “This is where we have to step up our financial intelligence capabilities to determine how illicit funds are raised or generated, moved or transferred, and used.”

Ms. Nicole Rose PSM, Chief Executive Office of AUSTRAC also commended the broadening of the scope of the summit to now incorporate serious transnational crimes. She also emphasized the sharpened focus of the summit on creating opportunities for operational engagement among the region’s FIUs and the private sector leading to production of actionable financial intelligence for use by the region’s law enforcement agencies.

The Minister of Finance of Indonesia, Mrs. Sri MulyaniIndrawati, highlighted the huge economic and human cost of transnational organized crimes that include environmental crimes, terrorist financing, corruption, and tax evasion. She drew attention to new financial technologies that help drive global trade while recognizing the dangers they pose when abused by criminals. In response, she called for greater domestic and international cooperation and increased information-sharing to combat these threats. Minister Mulyani also commended the CTF Summit for its power to facilitate real collaboration among FIUs, law enforcement, and the private sector.

Mr. Kiagus Ahmad Badaruddin, Head of PPATK, expressed his vision and desire for legislation among regional countries to reduce barriers to timely sharing of information among FIUs.

Based on the outcomes from the plenary meetings, participants:

Agree to proactively identify and share counter-terrorism financing strategies through regional operational collaboration based on the outcomes and recommendations of the Southeast Asia Counter-Terrorism Financing Working Group Disruption Toolkit, which provides a range of collaborative measures for how competent authorities, including FIUs, law enforcement, and counter-terrorism agencies, will collaborate to detect, deter, and disrupt the funding of terrorism in the region;

Commit to the continuation in 2020 of the development and testing of a secure online information-sharing platform that will greatly enhance and enrich the exchange of intelligence between regional FIUs;

Support the findings and recommendations of the Regional Threat Assessment on Laundering of Corruption Proceeds to develop a “red flags” product for use by the private sector and to strengthen collaboration to prevent serious transnational corruption in the region;

Support the outcomes of the Virtual Assets: Operational Guidance for Financial Intelligence Purposes report through collaboration between FIUs and the private sector to reduce the risk of money laundering and terrorism financing of virtual asset activities in the region and reduce the risk of regulatory and supervisory arbitrage;

Agree to expand on existing operational initiatives, including the Multilateral Analyst Exchanges, Analyst Hubbing, and the regional Financial Intelligence Analysis Course to increase the capacity, understanding, analysis, and sharing of intelligence held by each FIU and to partner with the private and non-government sectors to address a range of serious transnational crimes in the region;

Confirm the role of the FICG as the principal CTF Summit Committee for commissioning and overseeing strategic and operational engagement across the region’s FIUs, noting the increasing number and range of operational activities being undertaken by the body;

Agree that in order to accommodate the increasing operational focus of the Financial Intelligence Consultative Group, the CTF Summit now be conducted on a biannual basis with the next Summit to be held in 2021; and

Note the outcomes of this year’s summit align with and support announcements from other recent international fora, including the 2019 No Money for Terror Conference and the 6th Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Council on Law and Security in November 2019.

“The three days of the summit have been an opportunity to discover best practices and new inputs from various sessions; expand networks in the area of countering terrorism financing; and, of course, experience the Filipino people’s famous brand of hospitality,” said Executive Director Racela.