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When the President opened the financial front in the battle against global terrorism, he galvanized all agencies of the federal government to work together at a greater level of cooperation than ever before. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies are sharing information to identify and pursue individuals connected to terrorism. The Treasury and State departments are working together to build an international coalition to disrupt the financing of terrorism. Results to date:
Since September 11, the United States has frozen nearly $4 million in assets belonging to the Taliban, Usama bin Laden and the al Qaeda network, and several million in additional assets are under review.
We've seen unprecedented cooperation from around the world. 102 countries have committed to joining the effort to disrupt terrorist assets and 62 countries already have put blocking orders in force. Nations around the world have frozen more than $24 million is assets since September 11.
Treasury hosted a special meeting of the G7 Finance Ministers last Saturday. The seven nations pledged cooperation and announced a joint action plan under which:
The G-7 calls on all countries to establish functional Financial Investigative Units (FIUs) as soon as possible.
The G-7 countries will all join the Egmont Group, which promotes cooperation between national FIUs and turns around information sharing requests as expeditiously as possible and will facilitate information sharing agreements between nations.
The Egmont Group will meet in Washington later this month to further their coordination efforts.
At the request of the G-7, the Financial Action Task Force (a group of 29 countries) will hold an extraordinary plenary meeting in Washington, D.C., later this month. The G-7 called on the FATF to focus on specific measures to combat terrorist financing, including:
Issuing special FATF recommendations and revising the FATF 40 Recommendations to take into account the need to fight terrorist financing, through methods including increased transparency;
Issuing special guidance for financial institutions on practices associated with the financing of terrorism that warrant further action on the part of affected institutions;
Developing a process to identify jurisdictions that facilitate terrorist financing, and making recommendations for actions to achieve cooperation from such countries.
The U.S. Government has communicated with every country about participation in a global coalition to disrupt terrorist financing. Top Treasury officials have spoken directly with 29 Finance Ministers to discuss specific actions. All have been cooperative.
Treasury officials attended the Caricom (a group of Caribbean nations) meeting today to discuss ongoing cooperation in disrupting the financial infrastructure of terrorism.
Specific examples of action since September 11 include:
The Dutch have blocked two accounts worth $550,000 of assets associated with bin Laden and the al Qaeda organization.
The Bahamas blocked accounts connected to the recent terrorist attacks.
The U.S. Government will provide technical assistance to cooperating governments in the full range of efforts to combat terrorists' financial activities.
U.S. financial institutions have responded to Treasury requests and volunteered information to identify patterns of terrorist financing.
Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has set up an 800 number so that financial institutions professionals can call when they see a particularly suspicious transaction. The 800 number receives an average of 15 calls per day.
U.S. Government Website