Probe launched into Indonesia terror funding

Indonesia’s uniformed forces have been on alert. Source: Wikimedia

A militant financing probe has uncovered about US$500,000 in Australian cash transferred to Indonesia to arm and train extremists groups in the archipelago.

A joint investigation between Canberra and Jakarta found the money was raised and transferred by an Australian man identified only by the letter L.

The cash was collected from donors in Australia with some appear to have been aware their money was to be used to fund terrorism.

The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) has frozen 13 international transfers worth tens of billions of rupiah believed to have been intended to finance the activities of rebel groups.

“From 2010 to 2015, there were 45 [transfers] detected, 13 of which were discovered in 2015. The recipients of the foreign money were mostly foundations in Indonesia,” PPATK chairman Muhammad Yusuf said.

He said that Australia was only one of the countries that transferred funds for militant groups in Indonesia.

“We have identified that the money [from Australia] came from alms and donations from individuals in the country. Some of them were aware of what the money was for but some were not because they just gave away the money believing that it was for charity,” Yusuf said.

He said Canberra had confirmed that “L” was listed as one of the most dangerous people in Australia.

There were around 1,300 foundations in Indonesia that the PPATK had identified as connected to illegal overseas funding, added.

Yusuf said Australian contributions had been sent to an outspoken Indonesian cleric called Muhammad Iqbal Abdurrahman, also known as Abu Jibril, whose son died in Syria.

In April, the KPK also announced that it had frozen around 20 bank accounts, containing billions of rupiah, belonging to militant groups operating in Indonesia.

About 17 of the accounts were held by people with suspected connections to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Another three accounts used the names of NGOs supporting radicalism in Indonesia.

PPATK deputy chairman Agus Santoso said money also came to 13 accounts from western Asian countries to Indonesia.

“The transfers from abroad were channeled to one individual in Indonesia and then later that particular Indonesian funneled the funds to other individuals linked to terror activities in Indonesia,” Agus told reporters.

He said the recipients were mostly women, in an apparent attempt to fool the authorities.

In order to prevent the influx of terror funds to Indonesia, the PPATK called on the Financial Services Authority to tighten requirements for foreigners living in Indonesia to open bank accounts.

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