Australia faces ISIS terrorist threat; closes MSB over suspect terrorist financing

By Christine Duhaime | September 17th, 2014

AUSTRAC unregisters MSB

Australia’s financial intelligence unit, AUSTRAC, has suspended the registration and activities of a money services business (MSB) in Australia over questions arising from potential terrorist financing. It is the first time AUSTRAC has suspended a reporting entity.

The MSB, operating under the trade name Bisotel Rieh Pty Ltd., failed to report all of the funds it sent overseas or to inform AUSTRAC who the beneficial owners of the funds were. According to AUSTRAC, the firm sent $18.8 million to Turkey and Tripoli in 8 months of 2014 and it posed a terrorist financing risk, particularly combined with the fact that the firm had admitted that it smuggled cash from Turkey to Tripoli when it could not open a bank account in Lebanon.

The MSB is co-owned by the sister of a person from Sydney who was convicted of a terrorist offence.

You can read more here.

Australian police arrests terrorist suspects

At the same time, Australian police carried out a massive raid to flush out homegrown ISIS supporters in Sydney who threatened to publicly behead a random person in Sydney as part of the commencement of the campaign of terror ISIS intends to carry out in the Western world.

Australia is on heightened alert amid concern attached to members of ISIS who have returned to Australia after fighting in Iraq and Syria. Australia’s Attorney General told the media that if the raids had not taken place, the planned beheading would have likely occurred. He said that ISIS supporters in Australia have been given instructions to behead people in Australia and videotape the killings. Instructions have also been given, says the government, to attack Australia’s Parliament. The Australian government believes approximately 60 Australians have gone to fight overseas with the ISIS.

You can read more here and here.

Australia boosts AUSTRAC budget & sets up new counter-terrorist financing unit

Days earlier, the federal government in Australia allocated an additional $20 million to AUSTRAC and announced a new national intelligence team to address terrorist financing whose mandate would be to:

  • Prevent persons who have left Australia to fight with terrorist groups overseas from receiving financing or material support from Australia;
  • Identify opportunities to disrupt terrorism; and
  • Monitor financial transactions that are associated with, or tied to, foreign conflict hot spots.

Thus far, Australia appears to be the only country that has taken steps to prevent terrorist financing of individuals who have left its shores to assist overseas terrorists. The reality is that those persons are typically funded by family and friends before they leave and when abroad.

Is Canada next?

Unfortunately, there’s no reason to believe Canada is immune from the plans ISIS and other terrorist groups have identified in their quest to take over Western economies and make us “bleed”, both economically and physically.

Statistically speaking only, Canada may be more at risk because it appears to have an out-of-proportion number of persons connected to Canada who have left to fight in Iraq and Syria in support of ISIS. According to government figures, 130 Canadians or Canadian-connected persons have left Canada to fight with the ISIS and similar groups whereas the US, with ten times the population of Canada, had approximately 100 persons and Australia had approximately 60 such persons.

The government in Canada held an emergency debate in its Parliament earlier this week and surprisingly, few members of Parliament attended. Without much foundation, Canadians still seem to believe that they are immune from terrorist attacks, a risk in and of itself for everyone because they will not be alert to suspicious activities around them that could prevent an attack from coming to fruition.

You can read more here.

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