The finance world fights terrorism
| 10.25.2006 | 10:30:50 | Views: 2609 | ID:
October 25 '06: Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush has said that one of the most important ways to help fight the growing threat of militant Islam and terrorism is to cut off the money supply that those planning attacks so desperately need.
"Money," Mr. Bush said, "is the lifeblood of terrorist operations. ... We're asking the world to stop payment." The Economist reported in this week's edition that a growing chorus of international banking bodies, as well US allies and countries in the Middle East are trying to find ways to curb terrorist funding while securing international financial institutions. "Scores of bankers, fund managers, accountants and solicitors [are] on the lookout for terrorists around the world," the weekly international financial news and current events publication wrote.One such effort by multi-national banking interests was highlighted in Egypt last month. According to the Economist, "Under the watchful eyes of officials from America's Treasury, nearly 200 grey-suited bankers from the Middle East and Africa spent two days discussing recommended financial safeguards to choke terrorist funding and money laundering...." Additionally, the Economist quoted Neil Bennett from Britain's National Terrorist Financial Investigational Unit who said that what is important in the fight against terrorist funding is to create "hostile environments" in which terror funding is made dangerous and difficult to conduct. Problems arising from securing financial institutions and creating safe networks are many. The costs are great too. One example given found that for a large financial institution to comb its records using "remediation" to verify the identifications of its clientele can cost 20 to 30 million British pounds (close to $40 to $60 million). And many multi-national banks, in an effort to keep in line with international compliance standards when it comes to terrorism, find themselves spending millions annually. A consultant firm KPMG told the Economist that the British Bankers Association that banks in the UK spend close to 250 British pounds to "comply with regulations." One industry expert told the weekly financial publication that banking institutions will need to start "behaving like the FBI and the CIA," because of the amount of time and money needed fight terrorist funding. "They need to start connecting the dots," David Porter of Detica, a British consultancy which focuses on financial crime. "The cost to our global economy is so large, they've (terrorists) already had the effect they wanted. ... The increasing costs of compliance and technology are a form of terrorism. We're damaging ourselves."
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