Financing of the Terrorist Organisation Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant

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Methods and Trends

Financing of Terrorist Organisation ISIL

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FATF’s report on the financing of the Financing of Terrorist Organisation ISIL analyses how this terrorist organisation generates and uses its funding.  This knowledge is crucial in order to determine how FATF and the international community can choke off ISIL funding.

Information collected from a wide range of sources and countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States, demonstrate that ISIL’s primary source of income comes from the territory it occupies.  The appropriation of the cash held at state-owned banks, gave ISIL access to an estimated half a billion USD in late 2014. The exploitation of oil fields also generates significant funds for ISIL, particularly when it first took control of them.  This report identifies other sources of funding that ISIL relies on to finance its terrorist activities and the regular investments into its infrastructure and governance requirements.

Globally, there has been a strong and clear response on the need to disrupt ISIL’s financial flows and deprive it of its assets.   Many countries have established stronger legal, regulatory and operational frameworks, to detect and prosecute terrorist financing activity, in line with the FATF Recommendations.  But more needs to be done.  This report highlights a number of new and existing measures to disrupt ISIL financing, for example:

  • Request countries to proactively identify individuals and entities for inclusion in the UN Al Qaida Sanctions Committee list.
  • Share practical information and intelligence at an international level, both spontaneously and on request, to effectively disrupt international financial flows.
  • Suppress ISIL’s proceeds from the sale of oil and oil products, through a better identification of oil produced in ISIL-held territory.
  • Detect ISIL fundraising efforts through modern communication networks (social media). 

Further in-depth research is needed to determine the most effective countermeasures to disrupt ISIL funding.

See also: 

FATF Action on Terrorist Finance, statement 27 February 2015