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March 1, 2021
International

Getting, sharing data quickly key to fighting terror finance – expert

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Image: A man types on a computer keyboard in Warsaw in this February 28, 2013 illustration file picture. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Files

 

ZURICH (Reuters) – Getting and sharing data quickly is the key to tracking down the people behind terrorist attacks, a senior money-laundering expert told a Swiss newspaper, calling for broader official powers that could infringe on traditional civil liberties.

Daniel Thelesklaf, chairman of the Council of Europe’s MONEYVAL advisory panel on combating money-laundering and terrorism finance, said his group was actively studying how terrorist cells in Europe function and secure funding.

“Then we need quick access to data and no obstacles to exchanging this internationally,” he told the SonntagsZeiting, saying much remained to be done despite some progress of late.

“After an attack like the one in Paris you have to be able to match data at times from many countries within 24 hours about people, rental cars, purchased weapons. Financial data play an important role here,” he said.

While financial data analysts often work with local police, they rarely have collaborated with intelligence agencies, and that needs to change, the lawyer said.

The director of Liechtenstein’s financial intelligence unit acknowledged how sensitive the matter was, but added: “We cannot give a terrorist endless avenues to object. If we want to have a chance against terrorists we have to be quick.”

He said he was sure people would back such measures if they helped prevent attacks and said they could be introduced for a limited time and reviewed regularly to see if they were still warranted.

Thelesklaf suggested countries consider following the examples of France and Italy and limit the use of cash, which unlike bank transfers leaves no electronic trail.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Ros Russell)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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