Terrorist Finance: On the Money Trail

Anyone trying to open a new bank account comes face to face with regulations introduced to make it difficult for terrorists to finance their operations. But these new measures seem to be producing limited returns and creating their own difficulties.

The World Today Updated 15 October 2020 Published 1 May 2005 5 minute READ

Robert Hall

Senior Corporate Security Assessments Manager, Barclays

Finding terrorists’ funds calls for careful targeting and better coordination.

The theft of $50 million from the Northern Bank in Belfast at the end of last year is believed to be the work of the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Efforts to recover the money reveal a massive money-laundering operation that is reported to involve an attempt to buy a bank in Bulgaria with an east European crime syndicate.

This reinforces the belief that terrorists and organised criminals have become inextricably linked and that money flows between the two sectors as they pursue their different goals. Tracking and stopping the money trail have become key parts of worldwide counter-terrorist strategies. Arguably only arresting or disrupting the operatives and planners is higher on the law- enforcement agenda.

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