Australians funding terror groups triple in past year

Canberra: The number of Australians who have funded international terrorist organisations, including the Islamic State, has tripled in the past 12 months, a report said on Thursday.

The report was by Australia’s financial intelligence agency, Austrac. It confirmed that 367 reports were referred by banks and private sector companies in 2015 where money was dealt between a terror group and Australian fund providers, Xinhua news agency reported.

A further 169 reports forwarded to Austrac were deemed to be “potentially related” to terrorism financing, but could not be proven.

The majority of these transactions were made to sections of the IS fighting in Iraq and Syria, the report said.

“2014 was the deadliest year for terrorism on record,” Austrac chief Paul Jevtovic said.

“The threat is real, it is serious, it is not abating.”

Overall, there were 81,074 “suspicious matter reports” referred to Austrac over the course of the last financial year.

Under Australian law, bank staff are required to report any transaction with potential links to terrorism to Austrac within 24 hours.

Around 110 Australian residents are believed to joined the IS in Syria and Iraq, with another 190 thought to be involved in internal recruiting and financing operations.

On Wednesday, Sydney resident Omarjan Azari, who was arrested in Australia’s largest counter-terrorism raids last year, pleaded guilty of funding IS.

The court heard Azari planned “to help get people from Pakistan into Syria as fighters” by making a once-off donation of $6,500 to military group.