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Charity Commission for England and Wales Terrorist Financing: Perspectives on Informal Finance and Charities Preventing Terrorist Financing without damaging.

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Presentation on theme: "Charity Commission for England and Wales Terrorist Financing: Perspectives on Informal Finance and Charities Preventing Terrorist Financing without damaging."— Presentation transcript:

1 Charity Commission for England and Wales Terrorist Financing: Perspectives on Informal Finance and Charities Preventing Terrorist Financing without damaging legitimate charitable activity 3 October 2014 Peter Clarke – Board Member Michelle Russell – Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement

2 The Regulated Charity Sector in England and Wales 164,000 + registered charities Annual income c.£64 billion Assets of c.£186 billion 80% income accounted for by 3% of charities 78,000 charities with an income of less than £10,000 pa Only 1,976 charities with an annual income greater than £1 million 13,000 operate internationally - annual income c.£10 billion

3 Vulnerability of Sector – Why is it at Risk High levels of public trust because of voluntary and altruistic nature Relatively easy to set up Global presence – money, goods and people Often depend upon one or two individuals who play a key and often unsupervised role Powerful vehicles for bringing people together – ready made legitimate social network Different and generally lower levels of regulation in other parts of the world

4 Financial & Logistical Support Attack Training UK & Overseas Precursors & equipment Food & Accommodation Support for Families, Before During & after Travel Fares, Visas, car hire Communications & IT Minor Crime Business Charities Donations Fraud

5 Aspects Of Terrorist Financing RAISING Street collections Donations – in person /via website /bank mandate Appeals – specific and general Door to door collections and chugging STORING Traditional banking Local cash storage Pre-payment cards and PayPal MOVING Bank transfers Cash couriers Money Service Bureaus: Alternative remittance (e.g. Hawala) Mobile phone payments USING Cash Debit and credit cards Bank transfers, PayPal Cheques

6 The International Response Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendation 8 Countries should review the adequacy of laws and regulations that relate to entities that can be abused for the financing of terrorism. Non-profit organisations are particularly vulnerable, and countries should ensure that they cannot be misused: (a) by terrorist organisations posing as legitimate entities; (b) to exploit legitimate entities as conduits for terrorist financing, including for the purpose of escaping asset-freezing measures; and (c) to conceal or obscure the clandestine diversion of funds intended for legitimate purposes to terrorist organisations.

7 FATF Typology Report 2014: Risk of Terrorist Abuse in Non-Profit Organisations Key Findings include: The NPO sector has interconnected vulnerabilities, and terrorist entities seek to exploit more than one type of vulnerability The NPOs most at risk appear to be those engaged in ‘service’ activities, and that operate in a close proximity to an active terrorist threat Disruption of abuse, or the mitigation of substantial risk, was dealt with through multiple means including, but not limited to, criminal prosecution. Administrative enforcement, financial penalties, and targeted financial sanctions play important roles in disruption of abuse

8 The Challenges: FATF Recommendation 8: Non-Profit Organisations: Implementation is not consistent – there are practical challenges for some countries, and it can be seen as low priority Challenges in reviewing and assessing the true risk of abuse What does risked based and proportionate mean in practice? Over regulating, restricting the operations of charities, freezing and seizing funds and closing down charities can create problems: New organisations are set up and/or take over Activities go under ground into cash based systems or other unregulated sectors Money intended for good causes can be frozen for years Creates a gap for terrorists to provide aid and relief themselves Criminals find other ways around obstacles

9 Our role and the UK approach HMG: CONTEST strategy and the 4 “Ps” A three pronged policy approach: –The legislative framework in the criminal law that deals specifically with terrorism – law enforcement –The Financial Sanctions Regime - HM Treasury –The regulatory and legal framework that applies to all charities – the Charity Commission Close down the charity v take out the problem? The Commission’s counter-terrorism strategy – 4 strands: –Awareness, Cooperation, Oversight and Intervention

10 Using a Regulatory Framework to support criminal Investigations Terrorist activity is a criminal matter but; An organisation that is set up to and has purposes to support terrorism would not be recognised as a charity The use of a legitimate charity’s funds or other assets for support of terrorist activity is not a proper use of those assets The distinction between abuse of a charity by people outside it and instances of abuse for terrorist purposes from within a charity

11 Where are the risks and common difficulties? INMoney from donors – provenance of funds; reputational risks due to links associations conduct; undue influence over decisions WITHINRisks from – activities; links and associations (trustees, employees, volunteers, fundraisers…); when conduct in personal capacity impacts OUT use of partners (overseas); not just money – links, associations, control - reputational risks; beneficiary influence

12 Some Challenges for the Regulator and Partners in This Area NPOs are part of civil society and it is likely that they and people involved with them will come up in investigations Identifying abuse from legitimate activity Funding that supports both legitimate and illegal activity Links between terrorism issues and other crimes Evidence thresholds Cash intensive environments International boundaries and information sharing – particularly across criminal/civil/tax Turning intelligence into evidence Limitations in Powers

13 Charity Commission Response Stepping up our intervention work During cases featuring allegations or concerns relating to extremism/terrorism issues included -25 pre investigation assessment cases -12 investigations -55 monitoring cases Targeted monitoring and supervision - use of proactive compliance visits Increased outreach and work with charities to prevent abuse and help make them more resilient

14 Case Study Bookshop Genuine charitable entity Mohammed Siddique KHAN Shezhad TANWEER Deceased 7/7 bombers Trustees Premises used to view extremist material? Premises used as meeting place for the bombers? Premises used to radicalise the bombers? £12.5k charitable funds held in bank account Charitable funds not used to finance 7/7

15 The importance of Prevention and The Role of Charities Equally important is to prevent abuse happening in the first place and ensure that the sector do enough themselves to safeguard charities from this. This means: Strong financial controls and good governance Implementing good general risk management policies and procedures Meaningful and effective oversight of activities by trustees Due diligence: -Know Your Donor -Know Your Beneficiaries -Know Your Partner Monitoring and verifying the end use of funds Not promoting extremist views inappropriate for charity Proportionality – not a one-size fits all approach

16 Live Issues: Conflict Zones Charities working in conflict affected areas and where terrorist groups operate (e.g. Syria, Gaza) Aid convoys - may be abused for non-charitable purposes and facilitating travel for British foreign fighters Charitable appeals and fundraising issues Other risks –diversion of funds and aid in country –safety risks including kidnapping –transmission of cash by charity representatives –use of local partners for delivery –effective monitoring end use challenges

17 Live Issues: Charities awareness of duty to report offences under s19 TACT 2000 Commission alerts: - the public on safer giving for Syria – ongoing campaign - charities on convoys, moving cash out of the UK, due diligence and monitoring, distributing aid, people travelling to Syria Outreach work with the sector on these issues – our events for charities working internationally Perception of bias and targeting

18 Impact of Financial Sanctions and De-risking by Banks Sector concerns in the sector about banks withdrawing or curtailing services to charities - and delays in transfer of funds Anderson report highlights “risk that necessary anti-terrorism laws will be given a bad name if they result in avoidable restrictions on the ability of NGOs to conduct vital humanitarian and peace building operations in parts of the world from which terrorism emanates”. Recommends dialogue between NGOs and policy makers including in UK If charity banking facilities are withdrawn, regulatory concern is ensuring that another provider is secured, the charity can still operate and funds are not at risk Our public position - serious regulatory concerns if a charity were not able to operate because of a lack of banking services Commission involved in ongoing dialogue with sector, BBA and other Government departments

19 Final Thoughts Allowing legitimate humanitarian work to continue and donors’ money to be used as intended is vital A multi-layered approach allows targeted effective action – criminal action is not the only option A risk based approach is vital Close working with agencies is vital Enabling the sector to learn for the future Disruption is a good result

20 Terrorist Financing: Perspectives on Informal Finance and charities 3 October 2014 Peter Clarke – Board Member Michelle Russell – Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement


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