Monday, August 26, 2013

Money is Oxygen to Terrorism


The US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Dan Mozena, has stressed the need to cut off money supply to terrorists, saying it acts like oxygen for terrorism. “Money and terrorism can be two sides of the same coin. Money [is] the facilitator of terrorism. Money [is] the enabler of terrorism. Money [is] the oxygen of terrorism,” he said on Monday.Mozena was speaking at the inauguration of a three-day SAARC Regional Judicial Conference on ‘Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing’ being held in a hotel in capital Dhaka. The conference has been organised in collaboration with the Counter-terrorism Bureau of the US State Department.

“To defeat terrorism, we must cut off the oxygen supply. We must cut off the flow of money, and that is where you come in,” he told attending judges. He said, “You [are the] brave judges from across South Asia. Your critical task is to suffocate terrorism, to deprive terrorism of the money. It’s needed for the people, our societies and our countries. Nobody said this is easy, it is not. Nobody said this is without risk.”
But he emphasized the importance of attacking and stopping the flow of money to terrorists to enable “the people of our respective countries to live in peace, in harmony. So they can build better lives for themselves and for their children”.

The US Ambassador, however, said judges were not the only players in this battle against money laundering.
He said, “Parliament must enact robust laws targeting financial crimes and money laundering, and bringing these laws up to international standards.” He said the US and Bangladesh had partnered to craft powerful laws, providing the tools needed to put money launderers behind bars.

Parliament had enacted them, and they were now being enforced, he said.

“Parliament must provide law enforcing agencies and the judiciary the resources needed to defeat money laundering,” he observed. He said the police, other law-enforcing agencies, intelligence agencies, and the military must play their part in apprehending money launderers and in gathering evidence needed for conviction.
He said as money launderers and terrorists became more sophisticated, security agencies, too, were expected to develop new skills and adopt new technologies.

“Countries of the region and beyond must better cooperate with each other, must better share information, must better appreciate that while borders and questions of sovereignty have historically constrained nation’s ability to work together, criminal and terrorists are not limited by such thinking,” he emphasized.
He said the nations of the region and beyond, must commit themselves to deeper cooperation in fighting money laundering and terrorism. He felt it was important for prosecutors to be professionals of integrity, capable of effectively presenting their case in court.

“And that brings us full circle back to you,” he said, referring to the judges, whom he described as linchpins in bringing money launderers and terrorists to justice. “You may have the toughest role to play,” he said, pointing out that judges had to ensure fairness, prevent violation of rights, and make sure that anti-terrorism and money-laundering laws were not used a political tools. He appealed to judges to encourage international cooperation “in this battle and admit into court evidence from international partners, to the fullest extent of law”. Judges should also ensure that their sentences, aimed at protecting people and deter criminals, were properly executed, he added

Michael Hearns an Anti Money Laundering specialist with over 24 years of AML experience can also be found at and on twitter at :!/LaunderingMoney

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