Charities working in crisis-hit regions are failing to receive millions of pounds in funding because of banks’ fears of incurring tough penalties for failing to stop the flow of terrorist funds and money laundering, according to a report.
Financial firms face stiff penalties if they fail to prevent terrorists channelling money through accounts and are becoming so cautious that transfers earmarked for urgent charity work are also being blocked, research by thinktank Demos said.
The report said there was a bleak outlook for charities operating in some of the world’s most challenging territories, including Syria and Gaza.
David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said: “There are acute concerns within the charitable sector regarding banks withdrawing or curtailing services to NGOs [non-governmental organisations]. I welcome any report that seeks to address these concerns.”
The problems faced by charities have not been heightened by claims that Islamic State (Isis) and other terrorist groups have used good causes as a cover for their own funding.
According to the Demos report, some charities are finding it challenging to receive, transfer and hold funds. Several have had bank accounts closed without evidence of wrongdoing, it said.
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