The financial impact of terrorism and how to limit and prevent it

IBCL event, February 13

IBCL speaker Jagtar Basra of JB Consulting
Photo: Romain Schank

With the Bomeleeer terrorist attack trial reaching its 131st day in Luxembourg, Thursday's Indian Business Chamber seminar exploring the impact of terrorism was well-timed.

Speaker Jagtar Basra's statement that terrorism is is a “global problem that occurs all over the world”, could not have rung truer. Luxembourg experienced a series of bombings 30 years ago which were attributed to a single perpetrator dubbed the “bomeleeer”, and for which no-one has yet been convicted.

Mr Basra, of JB Consulting in the UK, did not dwell on Luxembourg's past, however, selecting some of the major terrorist attacks around the world and citing their impacts on the local and global economies in addition to the human impact, to show that terrorism "actually impacts all of us in our lives.”

Beginning with the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001, he explained that the New York economy plunged by 83 billion USD in November of that year.

“When stocks fall and the share prices drop, it's not just these companies that suffer. We're all paying a price though we don't realise it. A lot of these large corporations hold our pension funds or our investments,” he said.

One positive he drew from the management of the aftermath was the fact that the stock market closed until September 17. Despite the fact 1.5 trillion USD were wiped off values when it reopened, its temporary closure may have prevented further losses, he said.

To demonstrate how the effects can ripple beyond a single country, Mr Basra cited the London suicide bombings of 2005. The result saw London markets fall 3.8 percent. Markets in Paris, meanwhile, fell 5.4 percent and Germany was also hit.

Meanwhile, Mr Basra recalled the 1996 Manchester bombing to demonstrate how long-lasting the impact can be. Of the 400 businesses affected by the blast, he said 40 percent never recovered.

Mr Basra concluded by listing preventative measures introduced as a result of attacks, investigation techniques and ways to limit the effectiveness of terrorist, by starving the perpetrators of the oxygen of publicity through management of press coverage.

Head representative of the European Commission in Luxembourg Georges Bingen complemented the first speaker with a summary of the measures being taken by the European Commission to combat terrorism and limit its effects. He reiterated some of the preventative measures mentioned by Mr Basra, citing the limitations on carrying liquids on flights within EU countries.

He explained that a 4.6 billion euro budget had been set aside until 2020 for anti-terrorist measures, of which 20 million euros had been set aside for a Radicalisation Network. This body of practitioners and experts within the EU was founded in 2011 to share best practices for handling and preventing the radicalisation of EU citizens, also working with countries outside of Europe.

Efforts to curb financial terrorism, meanwhile, were illustrated with the example of the EU- US terrorist finance tracking programme, which came into force in August 2010 and is used to track when there's a possible case of financial terrorism or risk identified.

This event was hosted at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce.

Find out  more about the Indian Business Chamber Luxembourg by visiting www.ibcl.lu