Accountants must help in terror fight

The remarks come in the wake of the New York and Washington disasters and plans from chancellor Gordon Brown to place an obligation on financial institutions to report suspected terrorist accounts and transactions.

And it appears Accountants and lawyers are about to be singled out for special attention as the USA and Britain look to react the American attacks.

Sources say government is particularly keen to make it clear accountants should be doing more. Accountancy institutes are thought to be a focus of interest for allegedly not regulating members tightly enough.

An NCIS spokesman told news agency Reuters : ‘People are not doing enough reporting of suspicious transactions.

‘Some institutions do well but others should be under no illusion – they are making a direct contribution to the financial viability of criminals.’

At the beginning of September NCIS produced a report claiming the number of accountants reporting suspicious transactions has fallen despite an overall rise in economic crime.

NCIS said only 77 out of a total of 18,408 suspicious transactions were reported by accountants.

Institutes are already reacting with some anger. A spokesman for ACCA said: ‘Our regulations depend on the law currently in operation. In our rules and regulations we tell members that if they form a suspicion of money laundering during the course of their work they must report it to a proper authority.

‘We have the rules in place and they are enforceable.’


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