Financially, how is France taking action against Daesh?

France is fully mobilized to cut off Daesh’s sources of financing, alongside its European and international partners.

At the international level, France, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has been actively involved in adopting a number of Council resolutions against the financing of terrorism.

On 17 December 2015, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2253 renewing the sanctions regime against Al-Qaeda, which was renamed the sanctions regime against Daesh and Al-Qaeda. This resolution makes progress on two fronts:

  • it updates the sanctions regime to take account of the changing threat, specifically mentioning Daesh;
  • it strengthens the international framework for combatting the financing of terrorism, calling on the Member States to take supplementary measures to cut off Daesh’s financing channels and to hold its financial supporters to account.

Resolution 2199 of 12 February 2015 already required States to take strong measures to fight the illicit trafficking of oil, raw materials and cultural property, and to prevent any financial transfers to Daesh.

From a military perspective, the strikes by the international coalition have destroyed a large number of oil infrastructures controlled by Daesh (e.g. wells, refineries, convoys of tanker trucks, etc.), significantly reducing the organization’s income. Daesh’s revenue from trade in hydrocarbons is believed to have been reduced by about half since 2015.

France also plays a leading role in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Terrorism is one of the top priorities of the FATF, whose last meeting took place in Paris in February 2017.

At the EU level, on 2 February the Commission set out an action plan for combatting the financing of terrorism, largely incorporating the proposals made by France last December.

Operational proposals are expected on supervising anonymous payment methods, combatting the illegal trade of cultural property, fighting against money laundering, processing data on domestic money transfers, harmonizing offences and criminal sanctions and tackling fraud. Furthermore, an EU list of high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regimes was published on 14 July 2016. A proposal to review the anti-money laundering directive was also issued last July by the European Commission. In addition, the EU created a framework to autonomously freeze terrorist assets (instrument adopted on 20 September by the Council).

At the national level, France has a system to freeze terrorist assets, enabling it to freeze the assets of a person who commits or attempts to commit acts of terrorism, participates in such acts or facilitates them and their financial backers.

France is continuing to strengthen its mechanism against terrorist financing:

  • The French law of 3 June 2016 stepping up the fight against organized crime, terrorism and their financing, and improving the efficiency and guarantees of the criminal justice system allows greater traceability of financial transactions. Furthermore, this law creates a new offence of trafficking of cultural property;
  • a national system to freeze terrorist assets is used against a certain number of French jihadist combatants;
  • an appeal for financial vigilance published on the website of the French Ministry of Finance and Public Accounts encourages French economic and financial actors to exercise vigilance with regard to certain Syrian and Iraqi financial institutions, as well as certain transactions;
  • a national plan against the financing of terrorism was presented by the Minister of Finance and Public Accounts in March 2015.

Finally, France is fully mobilized to tackle art and antique trafficking. On 2-3 December 2016 in Abu Dhabi, France organized with the United Arab Emirates an international conference on protecting endangered heritage in armed conflicts. On 19 September last, the President of the French Republic also announced the creation of a global fund to safeguard endangered world heritage.

(Updated: March 2017)