Emerging Terrorist Financing Risks

Emerging Terrorist Financing Risks

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The Emerging Terrorist Financing Risks ‌report, the result of the call for further research into terrorist financing, provides an overview of the various financing mechanisms and financial management practices used by terrorists and terrorist organisations. It explores the emerging terrorist financing threats and vulnerabilities posed by foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs), fundraising through social media, new payment products and services, and the exploitation of natural resources.

The terrorist financing risks identified in the FATF’s 2008 Terrorist Financing report, while still evolving, are as relevant today, as they were back then. However, developments since 2008 have created new terrorist financing risks. 

The issue of FTFs is not a new phenomenon, but the recent scale of the issue in relation to the conflict in Syria and Iraq is disturbing. FTFs are now considered one of the main forms of material support to terrorist groups. This report sets out the funding needs, sources and methods of FTFs and the challenges associated with combatting them. 

New technologies have also introduced new terrorist financing vulnerabilities. The broad reach and anonymity associated with social media and new payment methods could make these attractive tools for terrorists and terrorist organisations to use in their financial activities.

All terrorists and terrorist groups, particularly large terrorist organisations, will require a financial management strategy to allow them to obtain, move, store and use their assets. Understanding these financial management strategies is essential in developing effective measures counter terrorist financing.

This report is not a comprehensive study but rather, aims to provide a snapshot of current terrorist financing risks to raise awareness among FATF members and the private sector. Many of the issues raised in this report require further in-depth research.

The report highlights the importance of genuine private/public partnerships to enhance awareness of, and responses to, emerging terrorist financing risks. Such a partnership will facilitate the identification of FTFs and their facilitation networks. Accurate and forward-looking guidance to the private sector, will further improve their monitoring and screening processes and reporting-time on sensitive transactions which may relate to terrorist financing.