Expert Lawyers Concern Over Money Laundering Supervision

New Report Suggests A Lack Of Investigation Into Corrupt Funds


Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

Specialist regulatory lawyers from Irwin Mitchell are concerned after a report highlighted a lack of action to prevent money laundering and adequate punishment to deter corruption which is costing the economy billions of pounds.

According to the ‘Don't Look, Won't Find’ report from Transparency International UK only a small proportion of the huge sums of illegal funds entering the UK is being detected and investigated by the authorities.

The campaigners against corruption have called for the Government to strip the various private sector institutions and professional bodies of their Anti-Money-Laundering roles and consider creating a single, well-resourced supervisor to protect the UK against the problem.

Currently 22 supervisory bodies oversee the key sectors of financial services, law, accountancy, property, luxury goods, and the trust and company service providers. The report found that only one of these bodies has above a low or unreported level of enforcement of the rules.

Rachel Davies, TI-UK senior advocacy manager, said: "If the UK wants to permanently shut the door on dirty money, there must be a serious change in this flawed system. We are proposing that the patchwork of different supervisors be replaced by one single organisation, with enough resources to start the process of a consistent and effective approach to AML in the UK."

The report also found that in the property sector, only 179 cases were deemed suspicious by estate agents in 2013/14, while just 15 suspicious cases were reported through art and auction houses.

Laundered money being used to purchase properties was highlighted by the National Crime Agency in July as a factor that is negatively impacting on house prices throughout the UK.

Expert Opinion
“Whilst the exact figures are not known, there is clearly concern that the scale of money being laundered in the UK may be substantial.

“Unless specialist money laundering investigators, prosecutors, regulators and supervisory bodies have adequate financial resources to investigate potential AML control breaches then there may not be any material change to current levels of enforcement.

“Whilst David Cameron wants to prevent ‘dirty money’ being invested in the UK, law enforcement agencies need to be properly funded to investigate suspicions of money laundering or breaches of the regulations.

“It may well be time for a Government review of the current complex AML legislation to consider whether it is still fit for purpose and if there should be one unified supervisory body.

“Businesses can protect themselves by reviewing their financial crime compliance systems and controls to ensure that they have all the adequate anti-money laundering procedures in place.”
Sarah Wallace, Partner