France urges more European action to stop terror financing

2nd December 2015, Comments 0 comments

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin Wednesday urged Europe to stem terrorist financing through closer coordination on freezing assets as well as enforcing tighter checks on the import of art works.

During his visit to Berlin, Sapin outlined potential anti-terror funding measures that he wants EU ministers to consider when they meet next week.

Combatting the financing of terror has gained new impetus following the deadly November 13 attacks in Paris which claimed 130 lives.

Sapin said Europe needs to look not just at freezing bank accounts of individuals suspected of committing or planning acts of terror.

It also needs to target assets including "buildings, vehicles" and even "social allocations".

Any freeze should also be valid across Europe to prevent suspects from sidestepping the ban.

Sapin noted that there is a lot of talk "regarding financing through oil sales but not enough on the sale of art works".

A "harmonisation of checks on the import of these objects" is necessary because "in our developed countries, people buy -- sometimes unknowingly, objects stolen by Daesh," said Sapin, using another name for the Islamic State group.

Sapin also highlighted other proposals including better coordination within Europe on the control of financial flows, as well as tighter rules surrounding the use of pre-paid credit cards.

"We should fight against all forms of anonymity in the financial exchanges," he said, calling on EU states to bring forward the implementation of an anti-laundering measure from the current date of mid-2017.

Sapin's German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble pledged his support to "put pressure" on EU finance ministers at a December 8 meeting in Brussels to adopt new anti-terror financial measures quickly.

© 2015 AFP

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