Treasury Notes

 The Sixth Counter ISIL Finance Meeting Convenes in Kuwait

By: Daniel L. Glaser

This Monday in Kuwait, we concluded the sixth meeting of the Counter ISIL Finance Group (CIFG). The CIFG, which the United States co-chairs with Italy and Saudi Arabia, was established in January 2015 as one of the five working groups within the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, a broad international group formed to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL. The CIFG is a critical forum in which members seek to understand ISIL’s financial and economic activities and to develop and coordinate countermeasures internationally.  

At yesterday’s event, we were honored to welcome delegations from over 35 countries—including officials from central banks, finance ministries, financial intelligence units, and foreign ministries—and four multilateral organizations. The meeting provided an opportunity for Coalition members to update one another on progress disrupting ISIL’s sources of revenues and its access to the international financial system, and the discussions sharpened our understanding of ISIL’s financial infrastructure. Detailed briefings were provided on Coalition efforts to target ISIL’s oil industry, as well as the international community’s understanding of ISIL’s financial relationships with its affiliate groups abroad. The meeting also served as a venue to share best practices and lessons learned for regulating exchange houses and money transfer companies, significant channels through which ISIL can move funds. Finally, CIFG members sought to anticipate the possible future trajectory of ISIL’s finances as Coalition military efforts force ISIL out of territory, shrinking its access to resources and populations to extort.

This meeting follows our last plenary meeting in Rome in April of this year, where the CIFG’s four outcome-oriented project groups met to tackle a wide-range of issues related to counter-ISIL finance including ISIL’s cross-border illicit financial flows, oil and gas exploitation, financial connections with affiliates, and the looting and sale of antiquities. The CIFG also met in February 2016 in a historic joint meeting with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to develop a greater understanding within the international community of how ISIL raises and moves funds and examine measures that can be taken against it. 

The work we do in the CIFG is essential. The CIFG has made important contributions in constraining ISIL’s finances in the nearly two years that have passed since its establishment. We will continue our work to deprive ISIL of revenue and to make the international financial system a hostile environment for ISIL. 

Daniel L. Glaser is the Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.​

Posted in:  ISIL
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