April 3, 2018 – The international scientific and practical conference titled " Priorities of International Cooperation in the Fight against Extremism and Terrorism" was held at the Moscow Interior Ministry University.
In his speech, the Director of the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, Yury Chikhanchin, highlighted the role of the efforts to mitigate terrorist and extremist financing risks in identifying and thwarting the threats posed by these crimes.
"Only by cutting off funding to extremist and terrorist organizations and their supporters will we be able to address this problem and, even more importantly, prevent it in the future."
As noted by the Head of Rosfinmonitoring, terrorism, as an the acute form of extremism, and their financing are becoming global, posing a challenge that is impossible to solve without effective international cooperation, rapid information exchange and a common information space shared by those involved in this fight.
The abuse by members of extremist and terrorist organizations of the legitimate financial system, including for cross-border money transfers, is one of the biggest challenges faced by authorities engaged in the fight against extremist financing. This is particularly evident from our efforts to address the problem of terrorist fighters.
After returning home or settling in other countries, these people take advantage of the financial system to continue their support for terrorists.
"In this regard, financial intelligence and law enforcement agencies, by working together, should strive not only to block terrorists' access to their domestic financial system, but also to join efforts with international partners in cutting off funding to terrorists," said Yury Chikhanchin.
To this end, starting in 2015, the CIS Council of Heads of Financial Intelligence Units, in response to Russia's initiative, has been overseeing a permanent operation to identify individuals involved in the activities of international terrorist organizations.
This work has allowed CIS financial intelligence and law enforcement agencies to achieve some practical results in the fight against terrorist financing, including the freezing of hundreds of bank accounts of persons with links to terrorists.
Through its involvement in the work of the relevant international organizations, Russia mobilizes international efforts to identify and block the sources and channels of financial, material and technical support for terrorist organizations. At Russia's initiative, this issue was put at the top of the agenda of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF).
At the FATF, Russia also initiated an update to the research into ISIL financing. The reports, issued three times a year, allow countries to exchange the most relevant information on intentional terrorist financing, as well as on its sources and channels. This information helps improve the effectiveness of not only national but also multilateral TF efforts, especially against ISIL, enabling a timely identification of new approaches to the financing of international terrorism.
"Speaking about the problem of extremism and its financing, it should be noted that the Russian Federation has a unique experience based on its systematic, long-term work in this area. At the national level, our efforts are directed at freezing the financial assets of persons involved in extremist activities and suspending their transactions," said Rosfinmonitoring Director.
At the same time, while the international community's efforts to combat terrorism can be described as fairly rapid and effective, it is too early to speak of a common international counter-extremist front. There is no unity in countries' approaches to defining "extremism" and combating its financing, which significantly limits the opportunities for effective international cooperation, information sharing and blocking of financial assets of extremist groups.
On its behalf, Russia is taking a number of concrete steps to promote international cooperation in the fight against extremism, including at the relevant international organizations.
In particular, Russia initiated an international study at the FATF into the financing of recruitment for extremist and terrorist purposes.
Given that the issue of terrorist recruitment was never considered either by the FATF or any other member of the global AML/CFT network, this study can be described as innovative, as it offers a deeper understanding of the role of financing in terrorist recruitment and allows us to better understand the role played by the financial intelligence unit in combating it, primarily in the international exchange of information on extremist networks.
Rosfinmonitoring actively shares its approaches and other information at the Interagency Commission for Combating Extremism and at the National Anti-Terrorism Committee.