**Juan Carlos Zarate
US Treasury Assistant Secretary
The US Treasury says the terrorist financing threat is evolving, with terrorist financiers constantly adjusting to international efforts to obstruct them.
This past week in Washington, DC, Mr. Juan Carlos Zarate, US Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, addressed the House Financial Services Committee on the abuses by terrorists of non-traditional means of financing. He said now more than ever, it is clear that terrorist financing is not a monolithic force – but part and parcel of a nexus comprised of adept financial criminals, corruptible financial institutions, and complex ideological and financial networks.
The unprecedented global effort to shut down flows of money to terrorist groups has made it now harder, costlier and riskier for terrorists to raise funds for their attacks. There has been a growing realization internationally that securing the financial system and all vulnerable sectors – in addition to targeting the sources of terrorist support – is an essential element of the fight against terrorism and financial crimes. It is necessary, maintains Mr. Zarate, to build upon this strategy and systemic platform to reduce the risks associated with the movement of money in the less formal sectors of the international financial system.
The US Treasury is looking to other financial systems and sectors around the world that could be used not only to skirt financial regulations but also to facilitate criminal activity and possibly terrorism. As the war against terrorism moves beyond the initial phases, the global community must match the adaptations of terrorist financiers, money launderers, and other financial criminals with enhanced powers and steadfast resolve. It is apparent that following dirty money and attacking its illicit sources is an essential part of winning the financial war on terrorism. *”If we scatter the terrorists, deny them cash, and smother their attempts to funnel their ill-gotten gains through the international financial system, we can make their lives all the more miserable, and their despicable efforts all the more powerless,”*says Mr. Zarate.
In The Bahamas, the **Anti-Terrorism Act**, enacted in December of 2004, gives effect to jurisdiction’s international obligations relating to terrorism. The Act supports wide-ranging measures that call for suppressing terrorist financing and improving international cooperation.
Addressing the House of Assembly during debate on the Anti-Terrorism Bill, Attorney General the Hon. Alfred Sears said The Bahamas had adopted Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations relating to the financing of terrorism, and its regulatory regime been strengthened to ensure compliance. The new anti-terrorism legislation is designed to work in conjunction with existing legislation, including the Proceeds of Crime Act which gives the Police, Customs and the Courts certain powers in relation to money laundering, and the search, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of crime.
Focusing on global terrorist networks, the U.N. has passed a number of resolutions relating to terrorist financing with the objective of freezing the funds and other financial resources of the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda organisation. The Bahamas’ International Economic Obligation and Ancillary Measures Act enables it to authorise financial institutions to freeze the accounts of persons identified by the United Nations. The jurisdiction currently is signatory to seven multilateral conventions and protocols relating to states’ responsibilities for combating terrorism.