Saudi Arabia Introduces More Effective Anti-Terror Financing Legislation

Published January 29th, 2019 - 10:15 GMT
(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

Legislation to combat terrorism and its funding has come into effect in the Kingdom, and has been published by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Dimah Al-Sharif, a legal consultant and member of the International Association of Lawyers, said the 26-article piece of legislation will help to protect the Kingdom from terror attacks.

The legislation “has succeeded in covering most of the aspects that fuel terrorism, from spreading ideas to…the funding of terrorist organizations,” she said.

It also tackles the use by terrorists of charities and non-profit institutions as facades to fund their activities, she said.

The legislation “gives prosecutors the right to request records or documents from a suspicious institution,” and “obligates institutions to implement the counterterrorism law in a full and accurate manner,” she added.

 

A report published last year by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization, commended the Kingdom for making drastic changes to the way it combats money laundering, terrorism funding and arms proliferation.

Saudi Arabia had proven its understanding of the risks it faces by its measures to address them, the report said. It added that the Kingdom has a strong legal framework to implement targeted financial sanctions imposed by the UN on terrorists.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia introduced the Anti-Money Laundering Law, under which the penalty for money laundering is between three and 15 years’ imprisonment, or a fine of up to SR7 million ($1.87 million).

A money-laundering crime, according to the law, includes any transaction involving property or proceeds with the knowledge that they are the result of criminal activity or originate from an illegitimate source in order to disguise, protect or help that source or any other person involved in the crime through which the property or proceeds were obtained.

Meanwhile, in a recent annual report, the US State Department praised Saudi Arabia for its efforts to combat terrorism, describing the Kingdom as an active and key member of the global coalition to defeat ISIS.

The report highlighted the strategic cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the US in a number of new initiatives to counter terrorist messages and disrupt the financing of terrorism.
It said Saudi Arabia has put in place systems to implement UN Security Council sanctions on groups and individuals linked to terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

The report added that the Kingdom has expanded existing counterterrorism programs and projects to rehabilitate those who have left extremist groups, and has adopted laws to combat the financing of terrorist groups.

The report referred to terrorist plans that were thwarted in the Kingdom, and noted the efforts being made in legislation, law enforcement and border security.

“Saudi Arabia has maintained strict control over the banking sector and tightened sanctions on the financing of terrorism,” it said.

The Kingdom, a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, provided €100 million ($117 million) to fight terrorism in the Sahel countries in Africa, the report added.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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