28 September 2001
AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL CONTROLS ON TERRORISTS AND THEIR SPONSORS
Australia will support US initiatives to freeze the financial assets of terrorists and their sponsors. The Government will be doing everything in its power to suppress terrorist financing. Australia is well placed to immediately implement measures similar to those being imposed in the US, including using the Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations to freeze and block the financial flows of terrorists and their sponsors.
The Government will direct the Reserve Bank of Australia to use the Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations to stop any payments in Australia by or to the 27 terrorists and terrorist organisations identified in the US President’s Executive Order. This action builds on Australia’s existing sanctions against the Taliban, which have been in place since December 1999.
Australia will also be taking action to strengthen the Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions – Afghanistan) Regulations 2001 to enable Australia to freeze the funds and other financial assets of Usama bin Laden and his associates.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) will provide its full support to the relevant US counterpart (FinCEN) in obtaining information in relation to financial intelligence.
The Attorney-General’s Department will facilitate inquiries for the purpose of tracing financial transactions suspected of being related to terrorist activities, and will assist in the enforcement in Australia of restraining orders or confiscation orders made in the US in respect of serious offences under US law.
The Government is also looking at further ways to reinforce Australia’s capacity to identify and suppress terrorist financing. Measures being examined include:
strengthening Australia’s ability to combat the use of false identities in the conduct of financial transactions; enhancing the reach of Australian law beyond national borders under the Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions-Afghanistan) Regulations 2001; and encouraging a more proactive sharing arrangement of financial transactions information with our US counterparts.
This action has been taken to demonstrate our steadfast commitment to work with the United States in combating international terrorism.
Closing off financial flows to terrorists is a global priority. APEC Leaders should agree in Shanghai next month to expand and accelerate technical and other cooperation on fighting financial crimes and cutting off the flow of funds to terrorists and their sponsors.
28 September 2001