Indonesian Terror Cells Get Help From Down Under: PPATK

MARCH 25, 2015

Jakarta. Indonesia’s anti-money laundering agency announced on Tuesday that it had detected funds believed to support terrorist activities flowing from Australia into the country.

“We have discovered funding activities from Australia to [terrorist] networks in Indonesia,” said Agus Santoso, deputy chief of the Financial Transactions Report and Analysis Center (PPATK).

He declined to elaborate, saying only that the matter is still under investigation and the agency is cooperating with its Australian counterpart.

“I can’t reveal the exact figure, but it’s not in the millions [of dollars]. We can only confirm that the funds came from Australia to support known radical organizations in the country,” Agus said.

He declined to name the group or any specific incidents the funds may be related to. He also declined to comment on whether the case is connected to the recent wave of Indonesians seeking to join the radical group Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria.

“We plan to reach out to agencies [PPATK counterparts] abroad with efforts to cut terror-related funding across the region, including those connected to IS,” Agus said. “We will work with agencies from the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.”

The government has previously expressed concerns over the hundreds of Indonesians fleeing the country to join IS’s cause, including 16 citizens arrested by Turkish authorities earlier this month for trying to cross the border to Syria, reportedly to support the militant group. They are scheduled to be deported back to Indonesia this week.

Police arrested five suspects over the weekend in Kebayoran Baru (South Jakarta), Bogor (West Java), Tangerang (Banten) and Bekasi (West Java). The suspects are accused of recruiting and financing Indonesian fighters for IS.

Among the five still in custody is a man identified as Amin Mude, a resident of the Legenda Wisata housing estate in Cileungsi, Bogor, who was previously arrested in December for a similar case but was released a day later.

Amin had been accused of aiding and abetting 12 Indonesians trying to reach Syria via Turkey and is now believed to be the main financier for the 16 scheduled to be deported by Turkish authorities.

The five were found with firearms, passports, plane tickets and a combined $6,000 in cash at the time of their arrests, according to Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Unggung Cahyono.

At least Rp 7 billion ($ 540,189) is believed to have aided Indonesian IS fighters to travel to Iraq, or Syria, the PPATK said.

“The network is expanding exponentially. The funds raised reached at least Rp 7 billion. They are using all sorts of methods to raise cash, from selling herbal medicine, books and even chemicals,” Agus said.