– Are You Protecting Your Business from Money Laundering?
Anti-money laundering (AML) regulations in the UK are incredibly strict and often very difficult to navigate. However, all businesses have the responsibility to put in place thorough controls and systems to ensure that money laundering is not occurring within their business and that all activity that is deemed suspicious, is properly reported to the regulating authorities.
In the UK, money laundering is a serious crime that can result in extensive investigation and prosecution. Where money laundering is not identified or reported within a business, the reputation, standing, and future, of the business can be put in serious jeopardy.
It is because of the serious nature of money laundering, that it is so important to make sure that your business has professional legal advice from top London solicitors, so that the right systems and controls can be put into place. Just a single slip in control over money laundering in your organisation could spell diaster for your business in the short and long term.
What Do You Need to Know About Anti-Money Laundering?
Money laundering is the act of altering the origins of property so that the origin appears to be legal. Commonly, this is a process that involves property that has been illegally gained being brought into the financial system of a business and given the appearance of a legal assets that have been legitimately gained.
In a vast number of cases, the property in question is in the form of money, although laundering can be used to disguise the origins of multiple types of asset, including:
- Property and Land
- Intellectual Property and Data
The legislation on money laundering in the UK is extensive, covering almost all aspects of commercial affairs. The main regulatory law for money laundering in the UK is the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA). The requirements of businesses have been further extended with the recent addition of another key piece of regulatory legislation, the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017 (MLR).
Registering for Money Laundering Supervision
In the UK, a number of business types have to register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for money laundering supervision. These businesses will then be monitored by either HMRC, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Gambling Commission, or a specified professional body, such as the Association of Taxation Technicians. These business types, include:
- Providers of Estate Agent Services
- Dealers of High Value Goods
- Providers of Accountancy Services
- Money Services
- Bill Payment Services
- Providers of Telecommunications, and IT and Digitial Payments
- Providers of Company or Trust Services
Money Laundering Offences
There are three main offences that are classed as money laundering in the UK, as stated by the POCA. In the POCA, it is classed as an offence to:
- Possess, use, or acquire property that is criminal.
- Enable the control, use, acquisition, or retention of any property that is criminal.
- Remove, convert, transfer, conceal, or disguise property that is criminal.
To prove that an individual is responsible for a money laundering offence, the prosecution must be able to prove that the individual had a suspicion of the activity, knew about the activity, or was an indirect or direct benefit to the activity.
If found guilty of money laundering offences, the maximum sentence is 14 years imprisonment. Penalties are also often an outcome of money laundering offences, including those given for failure to comply during an investigation.
Your Duty as a Business
To lower the risks of money laundering within an organisation, it is essential that businesses put in place certain measures and controls. Having an AML compliance system that works effectively at every level of a business will help to provide a level of corporate protection and make sure that your business is adhering to the AML regime in the UK.
Some of the common AML compliance systems to be utilized by businesses in the UK, include:
- Suspicious Activity Report (SAR)
- Customer Due Diligence (CDD)
- Know Your Customer (KYC)
Protecting Your Business Going Forwards
Money laundering is a complex area of law, but involves regulations that all UK businesses, and those that operate in the UK, need to follow stringently and put measures in place to protect their company against.
As one of the best law firms in London, at Gulbenkian Andonian , we can provide services for AML in multiple areas of your business, from assessing the risk of your business to providing advice on compliance and reporting. If you’re concerned about money laundering in your business or want to make sure that you’re business has the right measures in place, please contact our solicitors in London today.