More than half of the 300 people charged last year by the Metropolitan police counter terrorism unit committed a financial crime — many were sending money overseas to help fund terrorist groups such as Isis.
To catch even more people funding similar groups, UK financial laws need to be tweaked to help police, said the head of those investigations on Monday.
“We do see tackling financial crime as a really, really strong basis for us to be able to tackle the terrorist threat,” said Andy McDonald, head of the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism unit’s Specialist Investigations.
A major hurdle, he said, speaking at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) defence and security think-tank, are laws around wire transfers.
Right now anyone in the UK can send £600 (€847, $946) overseas without revealing his or her identity. Terror groups have used this loophole to send separate transactions within 30 minutes of each other, or similar schemes to get money to the Islamic State.
In Europe, transfer companies do not need to verify the identity of those sending money overseas for transactions under €1,000.