Counter-terror police urge charities to avoid using cash couriers

Counter-terror police have urged charities not to use cash couriers when moving money overseas. 

Police said using cash couriers was a high-risk activity and involved “significant risks”, including the money being seized and forfeited by the courts. 

The warning comes as the Charity Commission issues an updated alert to charities reminding them of their duties when it comes to moving money abroad. 

The regulator said cash “continued to be a high risk for terrorist financing and money laundering”. 

It said it continued to see “a number of cases involving cash seizures from individuals who have indicated that they are carrying cash on behalf of a charity or for charitable purposes”. 

It said that in line with international standards, the commission defined cash couriers as the people who physically transported currency on their person or accompanying luggage from one jurisdiction to another. 

This could be a charity representative or a third party acting on behalf of the charity.

The commission said charities should not use cash couriers unless there were exceptional reasons for doing so. 

It said if other methods were not available, it expected trustees to put in place “a range of additional safeguards given the significant risks involved”. 

It said charities should promptly report any seizure or forfeiture of charitable funds to the regulator as a serious incident. 

Commander Richard Smith, head of SO15 Counter Terrorism Command, Metropolitan Police Service, said: “On behalf of SO15 I welcome the commission’s renewed alert, and other ongoing efforts, to raise awareness of the significant risks involved in cash couriering.

“Cash couriering is a high-risk activity for anyone to undertake and is a method known to be used by terrorist and criminal organisations to move funds overseas from the UK. 

“I would like to remind all charities that our advice is clear – send funds safely and not to use a cash courier. 

“If you do, and the source or end use of the cash being couriered cannot be accounted for, there is a very real risk the cash will be seized and forfeited by the courts.”

The commission’s alert and further advice for charities can be found here

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