All too often, any overlaps between crime and terror are seen as forming part of a single problem of the ‘crime/terror nexus’. In reality, they present a range of disparate issues that should be addressed in their proper context.
The latest KPMG study commissioned by RUSI reveals that almost 45 billion illicit cigarettes were consumed in Europe in 2017, despite a 7.4% decline on 2016 figures. This equates to €10 billion in lost tax revenues for governments, with illicit cigarettes accounting for 8.7% of total consumption in 2017.
As recent reports highlight the increasing risk of Daesh-inspired lone actor or small cell homeland terrorist attacks, an urgent recalibration of terrorist-finance disruption efforts is required to include both funds flowing to Syria/Iraq and those raised to be used at home.
The UK Summer Budget provided more detail and commitment of HM Treasury’s plans to establish an Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation. It is a welcome initiative but needs to ensure both compliance and critically, facilitate continued trade, if it is to succeed.
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) was brought in to galvanise law enforcement’s efforts to undermine the criminal business model and to remove one of the major drivers of organised and acquisitive crime – financial gain. Despite the recent legislative changes[i], has this initial policy aim been forgotten?