Charity under investigation

Bryan Seymour

A Muslim Charity is being investigated by Federal Police over suspected money laundering and the funding of terrorism.

As the need for humanitarian aid and relief has exploded charities have worked overtime to raise money and come to the rescue.

"Charitable groups are viewed as posing a particular risk for money laundering and terror financing purposes,” said Professor Louis de Koker. The Deakin University Professor has written about money laundering and terror funding.

We know 150 Australians have fought with terrorists in the Middle East. We don't know how many here have joined them, some in ways that we didn't expect.

7News has learned, from a confidential source, that an unnamed Muslim Charity is being investigated by Australian Federal Police on suspicion of money laundering and funding terror.

Authorities refuse to identify which Muslim charity is being investigated, but 7News has been told it has annual revenue of more than a quarter of a million dollars and that in June the AFP approached the Charities Commission and requested information on the group.

Around 60,0000 Australian charities are officially registered with the regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

"It is always possible individuals can seek to raise funds and say that they're raising funds for a particular charitable purpose but actually not do so and sometimes that can be without the knowledge or consent of the charity involved,” said David Locke, the Assistant Charities Commissioner at the ACNC.

The Australian Federal Police told us they cannot comment on current investigations.

In a written statement, the Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan told us: "Financing terror will not be tolerated in Australia. Even unintentional involvement in terrorism financing can put at risk the Australian community."

The Federal Government recently announced a $630million package to detect, disrupt and take action against those supporting terrorists.

“All charities have to ensure that the funds that they raise are applied for their charitable purposes,” Mr Locke said.

“And it's really important that if you are operating in another country working with partner organisations you carry out satisfactory checks of those organisations to ensure that they're appropriate bodies they should be engaging with and transferring funds through,” he said.

Charities have been caught funding terror in a variety of ways, such as financing shelter and aid for the families of killed terrorists or raising money for a worthwhile cause and simply forwarding it to a terror group.

"Most Muslim charities are doing fantastic work in their local community and people shouldn't be discouraged from supporting many other charities that are doing fantastic work," said Mr Locke.