The chancellor said that an accountant from the private sector is the only option as the Treasury launched a recruitment drive to appoint a leader of the newly-formed anti-money laundering and terrorist finance unit.
To be based at the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the unit will be responsible for tracking the movement of funds used by terrorists and will be manned by members of the profession.
The new head will work closely with NCIS director general John Abbott and Martin Comley of the Economic Crime Unit.
Brown’s announcement came as NCIS began a search for staff for the new unit and as the government revealed it had frozen 38 suspicious accounts, assets worth almost Pounds 70m and seized Pounds 6.5m.
Speaking to MPs in the Commons about government measures against terrorists in the wake of the 11 September attacks, the chancellor said: ‘We ourselves will appoint an accountant from the private sector to head our anti-money laundering and terrorist finance unit.’
Observers believe it will be a Big Five partner with a forensic or corporate recovery background. It will also be someone about to retire because government will be unable to afford the kind of salaries partners command while in mid career.
Hugh Mathew-Jones, a partner in the forensic services department at PKF, said: ‘It will have to be someone with good presentation skills because of all the media attention.’
Other experts believe the candidate will also need enormous diplomatic skills and international contacts. Chris Dickson, executive council of the Accountants’ Joint Disciplinary Scheme, said: ‘Money laundering is an international business and the job will depend on being able to pull in assistance from law enforcement people all round the world.
‘There will be tremendous pressure.’
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