PracticeAccounting FirmsMore anti-terror work for accountants

More anti-terror work for accountants

A high-powered Commons committee is urging the government to ensure that law enforcement agencies share more specific information on terrorist finance with the financial services industry as part of a bid to toughen anti-terrorist property seizure provisions.

Link: Terrorists launder £600bn through markets

As part of the report, the committee recommends the Commons Treasury Committee consider what more can be done to improve liaison between the financial services industry and the security authorities over suspect transactions.

The wide-ranging report on anti-terror legislation was compiled by one of the most high-powered committees in Westminster made up of Privy Councillors – including former cabinet ministers – appointed by home secretary David Blunkett.

It demands the government end the controversial detention without trial of foreign terrorist suspects and stop confusing the issue by widening the scope of anti-terror provisions to other criminal matters.

The committee said hearings should not have to be held before magistrates to confirm seizures but there should be new means of compensating Muslims whose assets are wrongly seized who cannot for religious reasons accept interest.

But they also called on the authorities to destroy information received in cases where charges are not brought or are disproved – except where appropriate authorisation is given covering ongoing terrorist investigations.

The committee brushed aside government claims that disclosure provisions allowing the Inland Revenue and Customs to pass on information to the authorities under the Criminal Justice and Police Bill went no further than current practice.

Most of the information passed on concerned sexual, violent and financial crimes – only 4% related to terrorism.

The committee called for independent external oversight of the disclosure regime, possibly by the Information Commissioner.

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