Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Tightening the screws on Algerian terrorism through money laundering

Thursday 09/March/2023 - 12:59 PM
The Reference
Aya Ezz

The Algerian government has recently resorted to enacting several laws to limit terrorism in the country, including the money laundering law that seeks to clamp down on the movement of suspicious money used to finance terrorist groups. That law was enacted in 2005, and the government is currently moving to amend it so that it is consistent with its goal of combating terrorism.


Combatting money laundering

According to the amended draft law, Algeria will expand the circle of bodies charged with combating money laundering to include several ministries, including the ministries of housing, sports, culture, labor and finance, which will have broader tasks in the field of combating money laundering and monitoring its flow into the financing of terrorism.

The law also condemns persons who are found to be involved in carrying out suspicious financial or non-material transactions for the benefit of extremist organizations, whether through documents or legal instruments, or even through electronic transactions.

During his presentation of the draft law to the parliament, Algerian Justice Minister Abderrachid Tabbi said, “The draft law on preventing and combating money laundering and terrorist financing will strengthen mechanisms to protect the national economy and the financial and banking system from this dangerous form of crime.”

According to Tabbi, the amended draft law equalizes all Algerian and foreign judicial authorities in everything related to investigation requests, international judicial delegations, and the extradition of wanted persons, and between the specialized Algerian authority and other similar state bodies that include money laundering or terrorist financing and related crimes.


Evolution of confrontation methods

For his part, the sheikh of the Karkariya Sufi order, Ayman El-Karkari Ghazi, said, “The step taken by my country is very good, because the fight against terrorism should not be limited to campaigns and security raids, and other methods must be used to confront extremism; despite the importance of military confrontation, terrorism needs more laws to block its activity.”

Therefore, the idea of confronting extremism with the law is the best and strongest way to combat terrorism. According to Ghazi, Algeria has arrested several figures linked to extremist groups over the past months after it was revealed that they smuggled money through illegal electronic means to terrorist elements outside Algeria and inside the country.

Ghazi explained to the Reference that Algeria always takes proactive steps and does not wait for terrorist organizations to become more powerful, as it is difficult to confront them later.

He believes that Algeria, through the amended money laundering law, is fighting intercontinental terrorism, not just domestic terrorism.

Ghazi explained that there are also ideological methods that the Algerian government should follow to confront terrorism, namely changing the educational curricula that encourage extremism, as well as promoting interest in arts, culture, literature and poetry.

The sheikh also considered that Sufi orders also have a major role in confronting extremism and terrorism in Algeria, and the state uses them as one of the most important religious arms.


Felony, not just a misdemeanor

Ghazi also called on parliamentarians to classify the crime of money laundering as a felony, because the new law continues to classify it as a misdemeanor that may carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

The law also focuses on imposing strict control over the financing of associations with huge sums from abroad or from any party whatsoever.

For his part, economist Mostafa Attia sees that the Algerian money laundering law has some loopholes, which caused a group of businessmen and terrorist leaders to loot and steal huge amounts of money from banks between 2019 and 2020.

Attia explained to the Reference that, unfortunately, most of the money looted from banks is outside Algeria, and the government is currently trying to sign agreements to recover the looted money, especially since the recovery of these funds will support the budget of the state, which suffers from financial confinement and economic problems.