India’s Prime Minister Urges Global War On Terrorist Funding At Asset Recovery Conference

The Paris attacks last week were a reminder that terrorists possess remarkable adaptability in generating the finances to fund their activities, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in New Delhi on Wednesday at the 6th Global Focal Point Conference on Asset Recovery, according to The Hindu. Delegates from more than 30 nations attended the three-day conference at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

The meeting was organized by INTERPOL, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the World Bank - United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) StAR (Stolen Asset Recovery) Initiative.

The conference provides participants acting as national “focal points” for asset recovery investigations the chance to review developments and challenges in this area and identify potential measures to strengthen international cooperation in asset recovery cases, according to INTERPOL.

CBI Cites Dark Web And Bitcoin

The CBI released a statement prior to the conference about the Dark Web, noting terror organizations commonly used it to communicate without being caught by security and intelligence organizations. Devpreet Singh, a CBI spokesperson, said bitcoin is another issue. He said bitcoin has evolved as a virtual currency and it is being used to transfer money for illicit deals across countries.

Modi told the conference terrorists secure funds from a variety of illegal activities such as bank robberies, narcotics smuggling, vehicle thefts, fake currency or state-sponsored activities in failed states.

Disrupting terrorists’ funding would constrain their ability to execute attacks, Modi said. This requires implementing both systemic safeguards and targeted economic sanctions using credible counter-terrorism intelligence.

Focusing on the proceeds of crime is a key element in the fight against crime. Modi said there is an imperative to build global cooperation in the field of asset recovery for battling terrorism, crime and corruption.

Modi also inaugurated the 21st Conference of the CBI and state anti-corruption bureau. He said corruption is a principle challenge for governments across the world in transforming lives of the poor and marginalized.

Organized Crime Goes Global, Threatens Economies

The globalization of organized crime threatens economies everywhere. Modi said it is an established fact that “dirty money drives out good money.” Organized crime can undermine investment and economic growth.

Among his own government’s efforts to fight organized crime, Modi noted that it has signed agreements with various countries including the U.S. to facilitate real-time information sharing of “black money” stored abroad. There have also been efforts to bring transparency to the allocation of natural resources such as FM radio licenses and coal blocks.

Experience at the national level needs to be shared on a neutral platform among countries that cuts across regions, said Jurgen Stock, INTERPOL Secretary General. This holds true whether fighting organized crime, terrorism or cyber crime. He noted recent terror attacks in Turkey, Lebanon, France and other countries.

International police cooperation continues to support the exchange of law enforcement information, skills and experiences across all regions, Stock said.

Also read: ISIS' digital caliphate going dark - Darknet, that is

CBI Seeks Wold Class Capabilities

Anil Sinha, CBI director, told the conference he envisions his organization having world class capabilities, being knowledgeable and technology-driven.

Onno Ruhi, India World Bank Country director, said it is important to fight corruption and recover stolen funds in order to use the funds for priority development spending.

The INTERPOL-STAR’s Global Focal Points Network provides a neutral and secure platform for information exchange to more than 200 investigators and prosecutors from 120 countries, INTERPOL noted, but more action is needed to address the complex nature of asset recovery.

INTERPOL’s global membership recently endorsed a pilot project for a new INTERPOL notice to trace and recover assets.

Images from Shutterstock and Interpol.

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Lester Coleman

Lester Coleman is a media relations consultant for the payments and automated retailing industries.

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