Skip to main content

Asset Freezing Regime

Volume 476: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2008

In a written ministerial statement of 10 October 2006, Official Report, column 11WS, the previous Economic Secretary undertook to report to Parliament on a quarterly basis on the operation of the UK’s counter-terrorism asset freezing regime. This is the sixth of these reports and covers the period January to March 2008.1

Asset-freezing designations

In the quarter January to March 2008, the Treasury made two domestic designations under the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006.

One of these was a person already designated under earlier orders.

The Terrorism Order and the Al-Qaida and Taliban Order provide, where appropriate, for designations to be made confidentially and with restricted circulation of notice.

No persons were designated on this basis in this quarter.

The two persons were designated on the basis of closed source material provided by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

There were no financial sanctions listings at the EU or the UN in relation to terrorism or al-Qaeda and the Taliban of persons with links to the UK.

A total of 263 separate accounts containing over £650,0002 of suspected terrorist funds are currently frozen in the UK.

Reviews

The Treasury keeps domestic asset-freezing cases under review. A number of formal reviews have been initiated in this quarter and the review of four cases was completed. In all cases a decision was taken to delist the designated person.

Licensing

In accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1452 (2002), the Treasury operates a licensing system whereby designated persons and others are able to apply to make or receive payments under specific and, if necessary, monitored conditions. In this quarter, the following licences were issued:

6 listed persons were granted legal expenses licences.

12 listed persons were granted basic expenses licences;

(1 of which was for benefits payments); and

no listed persons were granted extraordinary expenses licences.

In addition, the households of three listed persons were granted benefits licences in accordance with the policy set out in the previous Economic Secretary’s statement of 3 July 2006 to Parliament.

Litigation

At the close of the reporting period there were eight active challenges against the UK’s asset-freezing regime pending in the High Court.

On 24 April the judgment in the High Court case of A, K, M, Q & G - v - HM Treasury was handed down, with the court ordering that the relevant legislation be quashed, but staying the effect of this to allow an appeal to be made. HM Treasury was granted leave to appeal. In the meantime, the asset-freezing regimes, and individual asset-freezes, remain in place.

1 The detail that can be provided to the House on a quarterly basis is subject to the need to avoid the identification, directly or indirectly, of personal or operationally sensitive information.

2 This figure represents the balance of the accounts at the time they were frozen and includes approximately $58,000 of suspected terrorist funds frozen in the UK. This has been converted using current exchange rates. Future fluctuations in the exchange rate may impact on the contribution this sum makes to future totals of suspected terrorist funds frozen.