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Lord Hannay of Chiswick: The noble Lord is moving on from the question of Somali piracy, so I must draw his attention to the fact that he has not answered the main point that I made. One can have two views about whether it is meaningful to say that there is no direct evidence of ransom moneys reaching terrorists. However, I am not pressing the point and did not press it in my introductory question. The question that I pressed, to which he did not reply, was why the Government do not consider that the assembling of such ransoms should give rise to the filing of suspicious activity reports, because the ransoms concerned will undoubtedly be the proceeds of crime and will undoubtedly end up in the hands of criminals? In all our correspondence it has been impossible to get an answer on this point. That is why I used the somewhat unparliamentary term, "obfuscation". Why are the Government not simply telling people who put together these ransoms that if they have reason to believe that these will end up in the hands of criminals-and I cannot believe that they do not have that-then they should file an SAR? That does not mean that the person who files the SAR is committing or admitting any wrongdoing at all. However, I find it hard to believe that since the British Government are, I assume, trying to prevent the laundering of the proceeds of ransoms around the
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Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I think that I ought to point out, without wishing to interrupt the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, although I do, that the Minister is still restricted to a 12-minute response time.
Lord Hannay of Chiswick: I am sorry; I am just coming to the end. I just was saying that I still find it very odd-it would be helpful if the Minister would reply on this point-that the Government do not consider that an SAR should be filed in such circumstances.
Lord Henley: My Lords, the noble Lord would never expect any obfuscation from me. He is a very distinguished former civil servant from the Foreign Office, a department which also has never obfuscated in any way whatever. I would prefer it if he would wait for a response from my honourable friend Mr James Brokenshire, which I am sure will be provided in due course. I think that that is as far as I can go on these matters, and I hope that the noble Lord will accept that. I am also mindful of the intervention of my noble friend the Chief Whip that I must move on.
I was briefly touching on the question of the Financial Action Task Force, and briefly making it clear to my noble friend Lord Dykes that it is reviewing global standards on countering money-laundering and terrorist financing. In February 2012 the FATF member countries will approve changes to the standards following this review. I hope that my noble friend will be prepared to wait for that review.
I hope that I have given a number of assurances that will satisfy noble Lords, even the noble Lord, Lord Hannay. I hope that he will be prepared to await the response from my honourable friend Mr Brokenshire. Again, I am grateful to all noble Lords for their interventions in this debate. I feel that we have had a useful discussion on these matters.
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