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Tuesday, 25 September, 2001, 19:58 GMT 20:58 UK
UK backs terror cash clampdown
Gordon Brown
Mr Brown vowed to chase "terrorist" cash
The UK is to legislate to clamp down on the flow of "terrorist cash", Chancellor Gordon Brown has said.

The move is part of a wider effort that will see the G7 group of countries putting pressure on the kind of "offshore" financial centres believed to be used by the prime suspect for the US attacks, Osama Bin Laden.


I said that there should be no safe haven for terrorists and no hiding place for terrorist money

Gordon Brown
Mr Brown said that provisions in the planned Proceeds of Crime Bill due before parliament soon after it returns will require Britain's financial institutions to report suspicious transactions.

The other G7 countries, the US, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Japan, will take similar action.

But this would only be successful if the offshore centres agreed to co-operate by cracking down on cash belonging to groups suspected of terrorist activities.

Mr Brown refused to name the countries causing concern, but said he had been in contact with Britain's own offshore centres, such as the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, to seek their co-operation.

On Monday, US President George W Bush published a list of 27 organisations who are believed to have links with Bin Laden.

Intelligence list

A further list of organisations and individuals compiled by intelligence gathered by governments across the world will also be published by the US, Mr Brown said.

"We in Britain will increase the legal powers available to us to freeze assets where there are suspicions of terrorist activity and we will increase the obligations on our financial institutions to make sure that this reporting is done," he said.

"We will put that in legislation to go through the House of Commons very, very soon."

Mr Brown added that finance ministers from the G7 countries agree that pressure should be brought on all countries to ensure they were "prepared to take action when there are suspicions of financing terrorist activity".

A UN resolution, which will be backed by the G7 nations, is due to be tabled shortly in order to set up a monitoring mechanism to require countries to report their efforts on clamping down on money laundering.

Mutual campaign

Mr Brown said: "There should be no safe haven for terrorists and no hiding place for terrorist money.

"I think by the actions we are taking to step up what we are doing in the UK and also to promote action internationally, we are going further than ever before.

"But, in these circumstances, because the supply of money to terrorists is so important to the success of their operations, it is our duty to leave no stone unturned in our mutual efforts to wage a successful campaign against the financing of terrorism."

The G7 ministers also issued a joint statement acknowledging that the attacks on the US had delayed the country's economic recovery.

"However, our economic policies and fundamentals remain strong and we expect a near-term return to sustained economic growth and stable financial growth," they said.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Mary Gahan
"The US is gaining more support for its crusade against the terrorist's financial network"
Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the FSA
"There are problems in some countries who have a strong emotional attachment to banking secrecy"
See also:

25 Sep 01 | Business
Business gurus warn of US recession
24 Sep 01 | Business
Will Bush's asset freeze work?
21 Sep 01 | Business
EU finance ministers in crisis talks
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