As part of a global crackdown on terrorists and their financiers, India is reported to have frozen assets of 37 entities and clamped down on funding worth €3,00,000 up to August this year, says a report on terror financing prepared by the Financial Action Task Force for G20 leaders.
Saudi Arabia tops the list of countries with maximum number of convictions achieved in terror financing cases, followed by the US, Turkey, Algeria and France. Two specific instances involving India include a report of an ongoing investigation of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), which has allegedly been receiving funds “originating from Pakistan through different channels in support of its terrorist activities in India”. HM, which has been designated a terrorist organisation by India, the US and the EU, had reportedly raised over Rs 800 million over the past eight years.
The FATF report specifically cites funds raised in other countries also being reportedly transferred or diverted to trusts and front organisations of HM in Pakistan. “Once the money reached India, it was distributed through various conduits across multiple locations to the active terrorists and families of killed HM terrorists”.
According to an October report by the FATF, an inter-governmental body established in 1989 which monitors the progress of its members in reviewing money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, the banking sector was “extensively” used for transfer of funds for terrorist activities while funds were also moved via money value transfer services, mainly to “financially support members of active and killed militants of the organisation, including family members.” India had reported that the HM allegedly incurs expenditure on mobile communication, medical treatment of militants, arms and ammunition, clothing and other military equipment. In the second case, India has reported that it has investigated a criminal conspiracy involving nine persons, including a US citizen and a Canadian citizen who cooperated with members of Lashkar-E-Taiba (LeT) and Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI), both designated terrorist organisations. The modus operandi in this case entailed the terrorists receiving legitimate cash in euro and US dollars along with fake Indian and Pakistan currency from sympathisers.
“On one occasion, the defendant received $25,000 (around Rs 16.5 lakh) to establish an immigration office in Mumbai, which was, in fact, a cover for his travel and maintenance, while carrying out the reconnaissance of potential targets for attacks by LeT. This individual also received sufficient high quality fake Indian counterfeit currency notes for use in India,” India has reported to the FATF, in an apparent reference to the case involving David Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana. Apart from conducting exploring vital installations in India and Denmark to carry out terrorist attacks on behalf of terrorist organisations LeT and Huji, the funds were used to make videos to support future attacks by LeT and HuJI.The latest FATF report dated November 16 comes in wake of terror attacks in Paris on Friday last week. “The FATF conducted an urgent review of 194 jurisdictions in the global anti-money laundering and counter terror financing network to determine whether they have implemented key measures to cut off terrorism-related finance,” the report said.
In the 12-page report, the FATF has found that while almost all jurisdictions have criminalised terrorist financing as distinct offence, very few jurisdictions have obtained convictions for such acts.