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Monday, 1 October, 2001, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
UK freezes terror funds
Briefcase full of dollars
Some of the assets were frozen before the US attacks
The government says it has frozen more than 60m of UK-based assets which have been linked to the Taleban regime in Afghanistan.

Chancellor Gordon Brown has also confirmed tough sanctions to seize funds from terrorist groups, in a speech to the Labour Party conference in Brighton on Monday.


We will show by our actions, in maintaining the conditions for stability and growth, that we do not succumb or surrender to terrorist threats

Gordon Brown

Mr Brown told delegates that ready access to money was the "lifeblood of terrorism" and he called upon all nations to ensure there is no safe hiding place for terrorists or their cash.

The news comes as Prime Minister Tony Blair announced plans for emergency legislation to close the net on terror suspects.

These will include measures to tighten up the asylum laws, speed up the extradition process and to stop bureaux de change being used to launder money for terrorism and drug trafficking.

New police powers

Last week the government froze an account in the city of London linked to the Taleban.

Now it reveals a total of 61m (US$88m) have been frozen in accounts across the country.

Some of the money was frozen before the attacks on the World Trade Center using a United Nations resolution to seize funds of suspected terrorists.

The UK Government is also understood to be considering new legislation to enable police to monitor bank accounts and freeze any suspect funds at the start of an investigation.
Gordon Brown
Brown: Tough sanctions against terror funds

The new Terrorism Bill is due to adopt the principles of the Proceeds of Crime Bill so that action could be taken against "clean" money destined for terrorism purposes as well as criminal funds.

In his speech, Mr Brown stated: "Ready access to finance is the lifeblood of modern terrorism. No institution, no bank, no finance house anywhere in the world should be harbouring or processing funds for terrorists.."

Last week the United States moved to cut off the flow of money to Osama Bin Laden, his al-Qaeda network and other groups it suspects of involvement in terrorism.

The move was swiftly supported by other countries, including Australia, the Philippines, United Arab Emirates and Italy.

Spending plans

The chancellor also used his conference address on Monday to look at the wider concerns about the impact of the terrorist attacks on the economy.

"We will show by our actions, in maintaining the conditions for stability and growth, that we do not succumb or surrender to terrorist threats," he said.

Mr Brown told delegates that although he intends to stick to current spending plans, the current climate will demand more financial discipline, not less.

Earlier the chancellor sounded confident on BBC Radio 4's Today programme about the economic prospects, despite acknowledging he was giving an open ended commitment to paying the price of military action, tighter security and humanitarian aid in the wake of the terror attacks.

"Of course, there will be costs involved but we are as a country better placed than before, than 10 years ago, 20 years ago, to pay for those costs."

Mr Brown insisted he would meet his two fiscal rules of balancing the budget over the economic cycle and ensuring the national debt remained a "reasonable proportion" of national income.

Speaking on GMTV he ruled out increasing the basic or top rate of income tax to pay for spending on public services to the campaign against terrorism.

Bureaux controls

The tighter controls on UK bureaux de change were prompted by evidence that large amounts of money are laundered through this outlet.

The bureaux currently fall outside the financial regulatory system and can easily be exploited by terrorists and other criminals.

Government sources estimate that up to 4bn-a-year leaves the country through bureaux de change and that 65% comes from illegal sources.

It is estimated that only 8% is for legitimate holiday travel.

Financial regulators are to be given powers of inspection and it will be an offence for high street banks to deal with unlicensed bureaux de change.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jonathan Beale
"In all 60m is being held in accounts across Britain"
UK Chancellor Gordon Brown
"There will be powers to freeze accounts for seven days"

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01 Oct 01 | Business
01 Oct 01 | Politics
28 Sep 01 | Business
24 Sep 01 | Americas
19 Sep 01 | Business
18 Sep 01 | Business
01 Oct 01 | UK
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