The UK’s anti-money laundering regime is one of the toughest in the world.
Tackling the problem of ‘dirty money’ in our financial system remains a key Government priority. Businesses, financial institutions, individuals and their advisers are all bound by our stringent anti-money laundering legislation. Many are also in the regulated sector so bound by the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (as amended) [the regulations]. This includes, for example, solicitors, accountants, bankers, estate agents. The regulations requires them to implement certain checks, controls and procedures to prevent money laundering. A failure to do so is a criminal offence.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Gambling Commission and HMRC have statutory AML powers to supervisor those in the regulated sector. The Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS), which sits within the FCA, is also now tasked with ensuring a high standard of AML supervision in the accountancy and legal sectors.
Across the board, regulators are ramping up supervision and enforcement action to ensure that AML procedures are strictly adhered to and criminal activity is detected on a zero-tolerance basis.
How we can help
We are expert in advising both individuals and organisations who find themselves caught in the fight against financial crime.
From those accused of perpetrating “high-end” money laundering arising from major frauds, terrorist activity and international corruption, to those suspected of facilitating it further along the laundering process. Whether payments are electronic or cash-based, used to purchase crypto, financial or physical property assets; whether parties are knowingly or unwittingly involved – we can assist.
We have an impressive track record in providing criminal defence advice to corporates and individuals alleged to have disguised the illicit origin of funds.
We also regularly advise those who might be considered enablers – lawyers, trust and company formation agents, investment banks and fund managers, accountants and real estate agents – on the regulatory and criminal law consequences of AML investigations, be they suspects or witnesses.
- We draft policies and procedures to assist organisations in complying with their AML requirements and ensuring they have robust controls in place;
- We provide money laundering training to help businesses stay abreast of the latest developments in AML legislation;
- We provide expert advice on when to make Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to the NCA and on compliance with the SARs regime including tipping-off provisions;
- We get involved when clients are accused of a failure to report suspected activity;
- We conduct anti-money laundering audits for individuals and corporate entities and advise on prevention measures and compliance requirements.
The legislation underpinning the UK’s AML regime is wide-ranging and complex. We pride ourselves on providing practical, commercial advice.
Where an internal investigation is called for, we can quickly analyse relevant transactions and recommend a strategy. Where a breach has occurred, we look to assist with remediation. Where allegations require a more nuanced response or robust defence, we look to protect our client’s best interests.
We recognise that clients want the strongest possible opportunity to avoid the fines, convictions and reputational damage that can follow a money laundering investigation.
If you are concerned that you may have fallen foul of AML regulations or need specialist compliance advice contact one of our specialist AML lawyers.