Combating Terrorism Financing in Germany
Priorities and Strategies
BayHfoeD Research Team
The German Ministry of Finance, in collaboration with the state prosecutors and the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, has commissioned an investigation into terrorism financing in Germany. The research group led by KPMG, a professional services company, analyzed 681 relevant criminal proceedings. According to the final report, there were 35 attempts to finance worldwide terrorist attacks from Germany.
In addition, the German government has also identified the prevention, disruption, and sanctioning of terrorism financing as a top priority in their efforts to combat terrorism. They have recognized that the structures and systems currently in place for cooperation between security and supervisory authorities need to be further developed and strengthened to analyze trends, typologies, and threat scenarios early on and address them effectively.
One area of concern that has been identified by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the misuse of non-profit organizations (NPOs) for terrorism financing. To better assess the relevance of NPOs in the German context and their potential for misuse in terrorism financing, the government is conducting a separate sectoral risk analysis.
In terms of this risk analysis, various groupings can be identified that are involved in terrorist financing in Germany. These can be divided into four main categories: including jihadist groups without their own organizational structures, foreign terrorist groups with significant support networks in Germany, Salafist groups in Germany, and right-wing extremist/terrorist groups in Germany. There is currently no evidence of systematic financing of left-wing extremist-motivated terrorism in Germany.
Efficient information sharing between federal states and the federal government is critical to combatting terrorism financing. Two centers have been established to facilitate this: the Joint Counterterrorism Center (GTAZ) in Berlin for Islamist-motivated terrorism and the Joint Extremism and Terrorism Defense Center (GETZ) in Cologne for other extremist and terrorist phenomena. These centers enable participating agencies to share up-to-date information and intelligence on a daily basis, and their efforts are being expanded to include the area of terrorism financing.
The German government has also dedicated additional resources to improve international cooperation in the fight against terrorism financing. This includes continuous funding of relevant projects by the Federal Foreign Office.
In conclusion, the German government has adopted a multi-faceted approach to combating terrorism financing, which involves strengthening structures, developing specialized sectoral risk analysis, promoting inter-agency cooperation, and improving international collaboration. By prioritizing the fight against terrorism financing, the German government is taking a critical step towards ensuring the safety and security of its citizens.
BMI Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Construction and Home Affairs. 2020: „Sectoral Risk Analysis. Terrorist Financing through (the Abuse of) Non-Profit Organizations in Germany.“ Berlin, Deutschland. BMI – Publications – Sectoral Risk Analysis (bund.de)
BMF German Federal Ministry of Finance. 2019: „Strategy against money laundering and terrorist financing.“ Berlin, Germany. German Federal Ministry of Finance – Strategy against money laundering and terrorist financing
FATF.2014: „Risk of Terrorist Abuse in Non-Profit Organisations.“ Paris, France. Risk of terrorist abuse in non-profit organisations (fatf-gafi.org)