AML Professionals and Addressing the Challenges of Combatting Terrorist Financing
—an ACAMS Resource
Terrorist financing is the process by which terrorists fund their operations in order to perform terrorist acts. Terrorists need financial support to carry out their activities and to achieve their goals. There is little difference between terrorists and other criminals in their abuse of the financial system. While different from money laundering, terrorists often exploit similar weaknesses in the financial system.
Terrorist organizations come in many forms, ranging from small, underground networks to large, regional bodies. Most recently, the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or sometimes referred to as ISIS) has garnered attention for its particularly ruthless attacks and its unique funding streams. Generating capital by way of bank robbery, pirating oil fields, and robbing other economic assets, ISIL has access to approximately a half billion dollars’ worth of financing. As with most terrorist organizations, the actual acts of terrorism are relatively low-cost compared to the damage they inflict; however, the operational costs of sustaining an organization are significant.
Terrorist cells exercise several methods to raise and “clean” their money, ranging from illegal activities like organized fraud or narcotics, to legitimate funding sources, including charitable organizations or legitimate businesses. With ISIL/ISIS, and sadly so many other terrorist groups, their revenue streams are diversified and far-reaching. Regardless of how they raise their capital, the end goal is to ultimately disguise the funds by exploiting global financial systems.
Detecting and reporting terrorist financing red flags is the most effective way to combat terrorist financing and stop the flow of funds.
ACAMS has created this resource page as a tool to help AML and counter terrorist financing professionals find topical news articles, research papers, government organizations, and recorded conference sessions to assist in identifying terrorist financing schemes, blocking their funding, and ultimately halting terrorists’ plans.
- Lessons Learned from the Paris and Brussels Terrorist Attacks
- How Terrorist Trends Evolve and How Financial Institutions Should Respond
- Detecting the Enemy Within
- The Rings of Defense Needed to Address the Threats of Terrorism to the Homeland
- Observations about the Terrorist Attack in Paris
- Assessing the Islamic State and Like-Minded Terrorist Groups from an AML Perspective
- Nations to Review Data-Protection Laws in Effort to Halt Terror Funds
- To Spot Terror Funding, Look More at Local Crime: Analyst
- To Face Terror Threat, Western Union ‘Evolving All the Time,’ Says Compliance Chief
- US Banks Cite Signs of Paris Attackers Says FBI Official
- EU Finance Ministers Agree to French Approach on Stopping Terror Financiers
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- The link between money laundering and terrorist financing
- Fact sheet: The IMF and the Fight Against Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism
Department of State
Department of Finance Canada
Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
- FATF Action on Terrorist Finance
- Risk of terrorist abuse in non-profit organisations
- Financing of the Terrorist Organisation Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant
U.S. Department of the Treasury
- Actions taken under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act
- Hawala and alternative remittance systems
- The role of terrorism in money laundering
- Protecting charitable organizations
- Terrorist Financing Tracking Program