NECC leads push to identify money laundering activity
Forty-two businesses have been identified as having potential compliance failings in customer checks, record keeping and identifying risk, as part of on-going work by the UK’s anti-money laundering regulatory bodies to combat criminal activity.
The National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) recently brought together regulators in the legal, finance and property sectors to make sure businesses’ supervisory systems to identify potential money laundering activity were fully up to scratch.
The Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) took part in the assessment and along with the remaining compliance leads and regulators vowed to work towards identifying and dealing with any suspicious or criminal activity.
Simon York, director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, explained that businesses in the accountancy, legal and property sectors need to understand that criminals prey on weaknesses, making it vital for them to take all the necessary steps to protect themselves.
"The money laundering regulations are key to that, but there’s still a minority of businesses who ignore their legal obligations. These inspections are a wake-up call that if you continue to trade illegally we will come knocking," Mr York said.
Following the recent assessment, a total of 250 visits and compliance reviews were carried out, which will be followed up with assessments or disciplinary action in some cases, the NECC said.
The centre is also in the process of referring three suspected professional enablers to regulatory bodies in connection with on-going investigations into illicit finance.
According to NECC, money laundering costs the UK more than £100 billion pounds a year. It is used by criminals and terrorists to move funds and pay for assets.
"As outlined in the NCA’s national strategic assessment launched earlier this week, regulators and supervisors are vital to our work to stop those who undermine the UK’s economy, integrity, infrastructure and institutions through their criminality," said Rick Kent of the NECC.
"Virtually all high-end money laundering schemes, and several cash based ones, are facilitated by the abuse of legitimate processes and services. This work with regulators helps protect victims, organisations and systems from the harms of serious and organised crime," Mr Kent noted.
Reports of suspected money laundering activity should be submitted to the National Crime Agency (NCA). Information about reporting suspicious activity can be found atwww.gov.uk/money-laundering-