Israel has received international approval for its ongoing progress in combating terrorism funding and money-laundering, the Justice Ministry said on Wednesday.

The Council of Europe accepted Israel’s progress report showing how the country is complying with international standards and advancing government effectiveness in dealing with terrorism funding and money-laundering, a development that the Justice Ministry described as significant.

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The report was presented earlier this month at the 37th Plenary Meeting of MONEYVAL, a 30-member expert committee on evaluating anti-money-laundering and terror-funding methods. Israel joined MONEYVAL as an active observer in 2006.

During the meeting, Paul Landes, head of the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority, part of the Justice Ministry, and representatives from the police, Bank of Israel and State Attorney’s Office presented data showing how Israel has improved reporting requirements for business-service providers, including lawyers, accountants and real estate agents to make it tougher for criminals to launder cash.

Landes told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that MONEYVAL’s adoption of the report is significant because it shows Israel has made progress in amending deficiencies in anti-money-laundering and terror-funding procedures.

Israel has now established a series of predicate offenses for money-laundering – criminal offenses as a result of which money is generated that may become the subject of a further offense.

Landes also said that Israel has now adopted measures to designate individuals as terrorists, whereas previously only organizations were designated as terror entities.

MONEYVAL’s acceptance of Israel’s progress comes as new legislation is being considered which the Justice Ministry says will help Israel in its fight against terror funding, but which civil rights organizations have slammed as too restrictive.

The Counterterrorism Bill, which the Justice Ministry’s Department of Legislative Consulting has worked on for the past five years, passed its first reading in Knesset in August and is waiting to be debated in the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee before going forward for its second and third (final) readings in the Knesset.

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