The Charity Commission has issued a reminder to charities of their responsibilities under the Terrorism Act 2000 (“TACT”) to report if they suspect funds are being used to finance terrorism.
The alert has been issued as regulatory advice under section 15(2) of the Charities Act 2011, and the guidance issued by the Charity Commission highlights that it is particularly relevant for trustees of charities and charitable appeals which are operating in countries or areas where terrorists are active or in control, and the Commission has said that charities must remain “alert and vigilant”.
The guidance has been published as a result of criminal investigations by SO15’s National Terrorist Financial Investigations Unit, which took place after a number of cases were reported where UK charity assets were lost to terrorist groups overseas. Although the Commission found no indication the charities involved had knowingly allowed their assets to be used for terrorism, in one case the law had been breached due to the delay in reporting losses.
The commission has stressed the fact that although there had been no prosecutions to date, this did not mean that there would not be in the future.
“Section 19 of TACT creates an obligation for a person who, during the course of their employment ‘believes’ or ‘suspects’ another person has committed an offence under section 15-18 of TACT, which are terrorist financing offences. Such persons must report it as soon as is reasonably practicable, along with the relevant information to a ‘constable’.”
Charities are also expected to report to the Commission where beliefs or suspicions reported to a ‘constable’ under section 10 of TACT.