Dyaning Pangestika, Jakarta – The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) has temporarily frozen bank accounts belonging to the recently banned Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and its affiliated groups on suspicion of money laundering.
PPATK public affairs unit head Natsir Kongah said on Tuesday that the move was in line with a 2010 law on money laundering and a 2013 law on the prevention and eradication of terrorism funding.
"We have decided to suspend any transaction and activities coming from the accounts of the FPI and its affiliations to support an analysis and financial investigation into suspicious transactions, with indications of money laundering or connection to other crimes," Natsir said as quoted by tempo.co on Tuesday.
As a financial intelligence agency, the PPATK has the power to request financial service providers to block suspicious transactions, he said.
As of Tuesday, the PPATK has received 59 notifications from various financial service providers pertaining to the suspension of financial transactions performed by the FPI and its affiliated groups. Natsir added that the center would continue analyzing the transactions and formally hand over the results to law enforcement agencies if they confirmed their suspicions.
The government issued on Dec. 30, 2020, a joint ministerial decree banning the hardline group and its activities on the grounds that its organizational license had expired, it had engaged in vigilantism, its statute contradicted the Pancasila state ideology and some of its members had been implicated in terrorism.
"The government has banned all FPI activities and will stop any events organized by the FPI because it no longer has legal ground, neither as a mass organization nor as any other kind of organization," Coordinating Political, Law and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD said at the time.
But only hours after the government outlawed the FPI, the hardline group's executives announced the establishment of a new Islamic organization, also called the FPI for Front Persatuan Islam (United Islamic Front).
The FPI is known for its unlawful raids on brothels, bars and nightclubs, particularly during the Ramadhan fasting month, and for its attacks on religious minorities and any movement it perceives to be a violation of Islamic norms, including Ahmadiyah Muslims and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
FPI lawyer Aziz Yanuar confirmed on Wednesday that the PPATK had frozen 59 bank accounts connected to the group, tribunnews.com reported. He declined to provide further details on these accounts, saying only that "from what I understand, those [accounts] are the FPI's official bank accounts". (dpk)