Criminals rely on money laundering to profit from many crimes, including weapons and drugs. This destroys thousands of lives around the world and in the UK. But to make good on their bad deeds, criminals must use reputable firms to turn dirty money into something they can spend.
Money laundering often works by splitting large funds into smaller amounts and disseminating them through multiple payments that are less likely to raise alarm by either professional services firms such as accountancies, or the state.
While almost every solicitor or accountant is fully versed in their firm’s due diligence measures cunning criminals and complacency can lead to cases slipping through the net.
Money laundering is not a victimless crime, and seemingly harmless transactions can have ripple effects which end up destroying professional reputations, as well as lives.
It’s essential that whenever a professional has doubts about a client engaging their firm, he or she reports the matter to their money laundering reporting officer, who will determine whether or not to file a suspicious activity report with the National Crime Agency. This will assist law enforcement to gather valuable intelligence and, where necessary, recover assets and bring criminals to justice.
Know the risks from money launderers. The UK’s professional services companies are being targeted by money launderers, who use legitimate firms to bring the proceeds of serious and organised crime into the economy, investing it further into criminality and undermining the integrity of UK financial institutions and markets.
The Home Office is working with professional services firms through its Flag It Up! campaign to help honest enterprises avoid becoming enablers of crime.