20041007 In Hot Pursuit of Terrorist Funds

So to summarise:

According to US figures some USD128 million in terrorist funds have been identified and frozen world-wide since 11 September 2001.

More than 80% of those funds have been frozen in the USA

A larger figure of just under USD200 million has been quoted but it appears that this figure includes funds relating to Saddam Hussein.

Most countries rely on the UN list of terrorists when deciding who financial services businesses should look out for

The UN List contains woefully insufficient data to produce accurate responses (one UK bank had 700 hits on one name alone and no way of differentiating between them)

Some countries have their own blocked persons list but in some cases this is kept confidential within the regulated sector, so reducing its effectiveness and, importantly, preventing foreign institutions having access to that list and so being able to assist by making domestic reports

Financial services businesses are being encouraged to use profiling but primary form of profiling in relation to terrorism available is racial.

The money used for funding future crime is no different, in principle regardless of the proposed crime

The amounts of money concerned are very small – and almost invariably too small to trigger any cash transaction reporting system

The amounts can be moved by a variety of formal and informal systems without much expectation that they will be identified.

A separate offence of terrorism may not be the best way of dealing with the issues we face: especially where other offences which would apply to the same conduct already provide for a sentence with is as severe as that applicable to terrorism.