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D2.2: Set of use cases and scenarios

Terrorist financing: definition and methods  Title:
 Case study: Ricin found in a London Flat


The role of social networks and motivations

The war on terror demands a focus on connections between individuals, between organizations, and between the individuals and the organizations. The purpose is to identify those that may be financing or otherwise aiding the activities of known terrorist organizations. 

The case of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) is an example of the importance to uncover social networks, as well as the motivations of those belonging to the networks. BCCI was a Luxembourg-based bank, founded by Pakistani banker Agha Hassan Abedi. It operated in more than 73 countries worldwide, and it did business with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal, the Pakistani terrorist group Mujahideen, as well as Osama bin Landen. BCCI’s founder was interested in more than enriching its clients, though. His goals included to “fight the evil influence of the West” and “finance Muslim terrorist organizations”.

The day to day of the fight against terrorism financing, however, is done by applying financial intelligence to the behaviour – financial and otherwise – of millions of individuals. Such intelligence goes well beyond typologies of transactions, paying special attention to the individuals or organizations involved in such transactions. The detection and prevention of terrorism financing requires high-street banks to step up security, including detailed identity checks on new and existing bank customers. Banks and other reporting institutions are told to pay special attention to those without regular income, those without regular expenditure patterns, and those who send and/or receive wire transfers, in small amounts, to/from particular geographical locations. This simplistic financial profile is not surprising if we remember that the terrorists that hijacked the airplanes used in the September 11th attacks, probably the highest profile terrorist attack in recent years, had posed as students while living in the US, and participated in wire transfers of small amounts to and from Dubai, for instance.

Three socio-demographic groups that fit the profile described above regarding income, expenditure and wire transfer of small amounts are, notoriously, students, unemployed people and migrants employed in low paid, temporary roles. It is also believed that some members of terrorist cells, namely those operating in Europe, are illegal immigrants that can neither make a living nor claim benefits in the host country, and are subsequently drawn into the illegal activities of the terrorist cells in exchange for accommodation, forged documentation and income.  

The next section refers to a criminal investigation that took place, recently, in the United Kingdom. 



Terrorist financing: definition and methods  fidis-wp2-del2.2.Cases_stories_and_Scenario_04.sxw  Case study: Ricin found in a London Flat
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