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Countering terrorist financing through not-for-profits and charities with Indonesia

This month, AUSTRAC launched the 2020 Analyst Exchange Program (AEP) with our Indonesian partner, the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK). Now in its 8th year, the program is being delivered remotely for the first time due to COVID-19 and runs until June.

The AEP is a fundamental to AUSTRAC’s collaboration with regional partners to build capacity to combat the regional threats we face from criminals and terrorists. The program brings together analysts from both Indonesia and Australia to build financial intelligence skills and capabilities.

The focus of this year’s program is terrorism financing through not-for-profit organisations (NPOs) and charities. It will also explore the possible misuse of NPOs and charities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Head of PPATK, Dr Dian Ediana Rae, said the topic is a particular threat in Indonesia, as indicated in the 2017 Non-Profit Organisations & Terrorism Financing Regional Risk Assessment, which found some of these organisations had been linked to terrorist groups and may provide financial support to terrorist networks.

“Based on our regional risk assessments, there are about 890,000 regulated NPOs operating across the region. And almost 337,000 are in Indonesia alone,” he said.

“AUSTRAC and PPATK have engaged in analyst exchange programs since 2013, designed to enhance the financial intelligence analytical capabilities in detecting and following illicit financial flows and increasing information exchange.”

AUSTRAC Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Intelligence, Chris Collett, said that the ongoing partnership with PPATK is fundamental to achieving our shared mission of detecting and disrupting criminal activity in Australia, our region and the world.

“AUSTRAC and PPATK have a proud tradition of working together to combat the threat of terrorism and organised crime,” he said.

“AUSTRAC and PPATK analysts work in close collaboration with local and international law enforcement agencies, including the Australian Federal Police and the Indonesian Police.”

The Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Gary Quinlan AO, said the strong partnership between PPATK and AUSTRAC will remain a foundation for operational cooperation into the future.

“We’ve had a decade of very strong cooperation and that is set to become better and stronger because of all the earlier work that’s been done. The AEP is a significant part of how we improve our understanding of the financial threat we face from terrorists and other criminals who continue to exploit new opportunities,” Mr Quinlan said.

The 2020 AEP was officially launched via video by Chris Collett, Dr Dian Ediana Rae and Ambassador Gary Quinlan AO. Watch a snippet of the launch video: