Treasury Notes

 The Third Counter ISIL Finance Meeting Convenes at Treasury

By: Daniel L. Glaser
10/8/2015

Yesterday at the Treasury Department we concluded the third meeting of the Counter ISIL Finance Group (CIFG). The CIFG, which the United States co-chairs with Italy and Saudi Arabia, was established as a key component of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, a broad international group formed to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL. Established in January 2015, the CIFG’s mission is to disrupt ISIL’s sources of revenue and its ability to move and use funds to wage its campaign of terror. We were honored to have Deputy Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin open the conference and welcome delegations from over twenty-five countries—including  officials from central banks, finance ministries, financial intelligence units and foreign ministries—and four multilateral organizations to Treasury for the two-day event.

 

The discussions we had over the course of the meetings mark an important milestone in the international community’s understanding of ISIL’s financial infrastructure, and how we can undermine it. Detailed briefings were provided on the latest information on ISIL’s financial networks and practices, giving coalition members the uniform baseline of information that will ensure effective coordinated follow-up action. The meeting also saw the launch of four outcome-oriented project groups that will serve as platforms for coalition members to cooperate on specific aspects of counter-ISIL finance. Those groups will examine ISIL’s cross-border illicit financial flows, smuggling of oil, financial connections with affiliates and looting and sale of antiquities. Finally, the CIFG sought to ensure that counter-ISIL financing efforts are integrated fully into broader Coalition efforts by hearing briefings from and coordinating with the Coalition’s military, counter-ISIL messaging, and foreign terrorist fighter groups.

 

This meeting follows our first meeting in Rome in March of this year, where CIFG members agreed to implement an action plan to 1) prevent ISIL from accessing the international financial system; 2) counter the extortion and exploitation of assets and resources that transit, enter, or originate from ISIL-held territory; 3) deny ISIL funding from abroad; and 4) prevent ISIL from providing financial or material support to foreign affiliates. At, the second meeting, which was in May in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, CIFG members released a Communiqué rejecting the payment of ransoms for kidnapping victims to deprive ISIL of this source of revenue. 

 

The CIFG of course does not operate in a vacuum. Its efforts are intended to support and amplify the efforts of its individual members. For example, over the past two weeks, the Treasury Department has designated numerous ISIL financial officials, facilitators, and foreign fighters under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 – the E.O. focused on targeting terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism – including eighteen individuals in the last two weeks alone. In addition to this, the State Department also designated numerous individuals and entities associated with ISIL last week. Several of these individuals have also been designated by the United Nations (UN) under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 and 1989.  Designations are an important tool Treasury brings to the fight against ISIL, to target and deplete its financial strength. 

 

I’m encouraged by the progress we’ve made and the ideas shared this week. We will continue to use every tool available to disrupt ISIL financing and make it more difficult for ISIL to operate.

Daniel Glaser is the Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing in the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Posted in:  Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
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