"Fighting terrorism means teamwork among local and international stakeholders,” Philippines Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) Chairman Benjamin E. Diokno said, speaking at the start of the Counter Terrorism Summit in Manilla earlier this week. The Summit is themed ‘Together United—Strengthening Our Region’.
The AMLC is hosting the Summit—fifth of its kind—in partnership with the Australian Transactions Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and Indonesia’s financial intelligence unit, the PPATK.
“It is through avenues of sharing and potential collaboration across all sectors concerned that we are able to synergize our efforts and, ultimately, rethink our strategies in beating terrorists and their financiers at their own game,” Diokno continued.
The Summit is committed to expanding its scope beyond terrorist financing to look at the abuse of financial technologies, corruption, and human and animal trafficking in the Asia Pacific region.
According to AUSTRAC’s website, the key issues on which the Summit will focus include:
identifying and sharing counter-terrorism financing strategies between countries in the region;
addressing regional high-risk money laundering threats;
providing operational guidance to counterparts and the private sector on digital currencies and virtual assets; and
presenting the outcomes from the pilot of a secure information-sharing platform to allow real-time intelligence sharing and collaboration between regional financial intelligence bodies.
AUSTRAC highlighted that the coordinated approach to tackling the various forms of financial crime in the region was demonstrated in a report released earlier this year that looked at transnational laundering of the proceeds of corruption:
Politically-exposed persons in ASEAN with influence in their countries over the natural resources sector were found to have the highest vulnerability to corruption either by embezzlement or bribery.
The most influential politically-exposed persons have access to complex and sophisticated money laundering schemes. These schemes are designed to hide the origins of the funds and involve the movement of funds through multiple jurisdictions within and outside the ASEAN region.
Often schemes such as these are provided by criminal professional facilitators, using banks that are foreign to the source of the initial corrupt proceeds.
The proceeds of corruption from countries outside the ASEAN + region were also considered in this research. The threat of these funds being laundered within the ASEAN region is considered high.
AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose said, “Terrorist and organised crime groups are increasingly sophisticated international organisations and it is essential that we unite as a region to combat these threats together. The CTF Summit continues to facilitate important regional initiatives, and cooperation and trust between financial intelligence units in the region has never been stronger.”