‘High-profile’ Indian under terror funding scanner

via Harish Gupta - New Delhi - DNA published on August 9, 2010


In one of the biggest seizures under the country’s terror financing laws, the Union ministry of home affairs, in coordination with law enforcement agencies, has seized assets and cash worth Rs150 crore from a single person. The identity of the individual has been kept under wraps since he is “very high-profile”.

The ministry has made the stunning disclosure in a 508-page confidential report on money laundering submitted late last month to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The FATF is an inter-governmental body responsible for setting global anti-money laundering (AML) standards and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT). The report also disclosed that two bank accounts suspected to be connected to financial terrorism have been frozen.

The report gives a graphic account of how financial terrorism has taken root in the country and how it is being executed by influential, well-connected individuals. The report was submitted during the meeting of the Asia Pacific Group (APG) on money laundering on July 29. The first such report, which has been accessed by DNA, has a large number of annexures.Â

It attacks Pakistan, perhaps for the first time at a world forum, stating that high quality counterfeit notes are printed in the country and then smuggled into India. “The most popular (routes) are via the United Arab Emirates, Nepal and Bangladesh,” said the report.

Pakistan helps “air-lift these counterfeit notes from Dubai with the help of bona fide passengers or couriers. Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka are also used as transit points”.

Bangalore is the top Indian airport which receives the maximum amount of fake currency. It is followed by Chennai, Calicut, Cochin, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi. Also, cases of terror financing are on the rise: 17 in 2006-07; 36 in 2008-09; 27 in 2009-10 so far. However, only one person has been convicted in the last four years. As many as 66 cases are under investigation.

The finance intelligence unit, working directly under Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, has also disclosed alarming details. It told the world body that suspicious transaction reports (STRs) in banks have risen manifold in recent years. The number was 437 in 2006-07 and stood at 4,048 till December 2009. The same trend is witnessed in financial institutions and other intermediary bodies. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and regulators tracked down more than 7,000 cases of suspect transaction in the last three years.

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