Criminals target Asian resources sector

Eamonn Tiernan
AUSTRAC boss Nicole Rose says organised crime groups are becoming sophisticated in raising funds

Politically exposed people in Southeast Asia with influence in the natural resources sector are the most vulnerable to bribery, according to research.

Australia is working with the Philippines' and Indonesian governments to limit money laundering in the region, as terrorist groups become more sophisticated in raising funds.

The fifth counter-terrorism financing summit began in Manila on Tuesday and brought together leaders in financial intelligence and law enforcement from across the region.

The summit will also tackle corruption in the region, wildlife trafficking and child sex exploitation.

Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AusTRAC) boss Nicole Rose said cooperation was key to fighting terrorist groups.

"Terrorist and organised crime groups are increasingly sophisticated international organisations and it is essential that we unite as a region to combat these threats together," Mr Rose said.

Research into money laundering in the region found the most influential politically exposed people have access to complex and sophisticated money laundering schemes.

Criminals exploit varying regulatory standards in the region and hide the origin of money by moving funds through multiple jurisdictions.

The paper found those with political contacts and influence in their countries over the natural resources sector had the highest vulnerability to corruption by embezzlement or bribery.