Informal channels

Dionysios Demetis makes a good point [Tracking Money Laundering Matters, Wednesday] – very little terrorist funding goes through the conventional banking system. Most of the cross-border financing is via the hawala or informal money transfer system, especially to and from the Indian sub-continent. The UK authorities are well aware of this but do almost nothing to crack down on the trade for fear of being accused of cutting off a “cheap” remittance channel, especially to Pakistan. Estimates from the UK alone are of £3bn each year in remittances through travel agents and similar high street shops. Closing this channel and encouraging legal channels whose pricing is undercut by these operators might do a great deal to halt gun-running, drugs and terrorist financing.

Martin Jaskel