Duma ratifies international convention on countering terrorism financing

Duma ratifies international convention on countering terrorism financing
The Russian lower house has ratified the convention on the confiscation of illegal funds and on countering the sponsorship of terrorism, introduced by the Council of Europe.

The Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism was introduced in May 2005 and signed by Russia in January 2009. In June this year, the Russian government approved the document for ratification and President Vladimir Putin forwarded it to the parliament.

The CE’s convention regulates the powers and rights of law enforcement agents in the investigation of suspects’ bank accounts and operations, as well as the procedure of seizing illegal income. It also regulates cooperation between various departments of the Russian Financial Intelligence Service.

According to explanations published on the Russian parliament’s website, the ratification of the convention must improve the effectiveness of Russia’s cooperation with foreign nations in the fight against the legalization of criminal funds and sponsorship of terrorism.

Russia introduced the latest major package of anti-terrorist amendments to its legislation about a year ago, making international terrorism a separate crime punished with up to 10 years in prison, as well as ordering up to 15 years behind bars for anyone found guilty of financing terrorist groups.

Most recent changes to the Russian anti-terrorist laws was made in late May this year, when Putin signed into law the bill that introduced administrative surveillance for people who have committed terrorist crimes and have already served their sentences.

In early 2016, lawmakers representing the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) proposed the introduction of property confiscation as punishment for terrorism, bribery, drug trafficking, public calls for extremism, high treason, and also murder and grievous bodily harm.

However, the bill was criticized by Human Rights activists and received a critical review from the cabinet. Government experts indicated that several international treaties, signed and ratified by Russia do not contain direct demands for property confiscation as criminal punishment and proposed that the MPs made some changes to the draft. So far, it has not been passed, even in the first reading.