Gordon Brown announces new powers for UK Treasury

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced today that an Order in Council will be made tomorrow empowering the British Treasury to prevent the funding of those suspected of planning terror. Use will be made of forensic accounting and of methods similar to those employed by the code breakers at Bletchley Park. With the help of computing power to discover relations between bits of information, they cracked the German Enigma code during WWII. Gordon Brown ranks the impact of forensic accounting at the present time with the use of fingerprinting in the 19th century and of DNA in the late 20th Century.

Speaking to Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Brown defined the most dangerous sources of finance for terrorists as being charities, money service businesses and financial transactions such as bureaux de change, cheque cashers and money remitters. There will be a new licensing system requiring firms to keep more detailed records of transactions. Tougher action against non-compliance is promised. New proposals about money laundering are being prepared.

The new Order will empower the Treasury, for the first time, to use closed source evidence from classified intelligence to freeze the assets of suspects. A special advocate procedure will be put in place to ensure "fair and consistent hearing of cases". If evidence shows it to be necessary, it is Brown's opinion that suspects should be held, without a charge being brought, for more than the present 28 days.

The Government has been defeated once already in Parliament in an attempt, in the Terrorism Act 2006, to increase the present 28 days of detention without charge to 90 days. Public opinion was very divided on that proposal and feelings in Parliament ran high with talk of a police state and of the Government pandering to public opinion.