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Australia Sees 3-fold Increase in Suspected Terror Financing

  • Associated Press

FILE - Police anti-terror forces are seen dispatched in Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Dec. 15, 2014.

FILE - Police anti-terror forces are seen dispatched in Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Dec. 15, 2014.

Australia's financial intelligence agency has reported a three-fold increase in the number of Australian transactions suspected to be funding terrorism.

But the government says on Wednesday the increase reflects greater vigilance rather than a growing incidence of the crime of financing terrorists.

Austrac said in its annual report this week that the 536 suspected terrorism-related transactions reported to security agencies in the fiscal year that ended on June 30 were a 300 percent increase on the previous year. The report did not give a total for 2013-14.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan says Austrac has more resources to detect such transactions and has increased cooperation with the businesses it regulates, such as banks and casinos, which are reporting more suspicious transactions.

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