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) 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.
A total of 250 visits and compliance reviews were carried out, which will be followed up with assessments or disciplinary action in some cases. Regulators are continuing to analyse the visit reports to identify any further breaches.
The NECC is also in the process of referring three suspected professional enablers to regulatory bodies in connection with on-going investigations into illicit finance.
Compliance leads and regulators, including HMRC, the ACCA, the Gambling Commission, the International Association of Bookkeepers, the ICAEW, the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA), the Law Society, the Law Society of Scotland, the Law Society of Northern Ireland (LSNI), the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers all upped their usual activity last week.
The organisations were sending a strong message to businesses – we will work together to identify and deal with any suspicious or criminal activity.
Regulators and supervisors received two ‘alerts’ ahead of the intensification week to help spot signs of money laundering specific to their sector. Money laundering is estimated to cost the UK more than £100 billion a year.
The NECC, hosted by the National Crime Agency (NCA), co-ordinates and tasks the UK’s response to economic crime. The centre shares intelligence and identifies the most effective capabilities across public and private sectors to tackle economic crime.
Rick Kent of the NECC said: “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.
“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.
“The particular aim of the week has been to further strengthen our co-ordinated approach. The NECC is able to unite organisations to make the UK a hostile environment for money laundering.”