Terrorist financing, serious crime and the Commonwealth

By Dr Paul Stott

Few people in the United Kingdom or the Indian sub-continent have heard of Operation Vex. But its emergence in the British press this year throws light on the challenges posed by terrorist financing, international frauds and the difficulty for nation states in addressing crimes committed across borders, often by people with dual nationalities or access to significant resources on the other side of the world.

Put simply, Operation Vex is a series of investigations by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) into tax and benefit frauds in Britain dating back to the mid-1990s. If press claims are to be believed, sums in the region of £8 billion are involved, with a certain percentage (perhaps 1%) set aside for funding Al-Qaeda. It is believed terrorists as significant as Abu Hamza, the former Finsbury Park Mosque Imam now serving life in prison in the United States, and 7/7 suicide bomber Shezad Tanweer profited from these frauds. As did a Lancashire accountant, Afra Syab Ilas, who died fighting for the Taliban against the Northern Alliance, back in 2001, having left his hometown of Burnley.


Read the full article in The Sunday Guardian


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