AML ENFORCEMENT IS STARTING TO BITE IN THE UK
On 7 January 2021, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) published the latest list of businesses handed fines for breaching strict regulations aimed at preventing criminals from laundering illicit cash.
The list includes money transfer company MT Global Limited, which has been handed the largest ever fine [£23.8m) issued by HMRC:
The fine was for significant breaches of the regulations between July 2017 and December 2019 relating to:
- Risk assessments and associated record-keeping
- Policies, controls and procedures
- Fundamental customer due diligence measures
In 2019 to 2020 HMRC
- Completed 2,000 interventions on supervised businesses, issued penalties totalling £9.1 million and stopped 89 non-compliant businesses and individuals from trading.
- Recouped over £166 million from the proceeds of crime, of which more than £22 million was linked to money laundering offences – sending an unequivocal message that crime doesn’t pay.
- HMRC announced a £7.8 million fine against a London MSB that ignored anti-money laundering regulations. HMRC, Metropolitan Police (MPS)
- West London money transmitter Touma Foreign Exchange Ltd ignored anti-money laundering regulations and received a £7.8 million penalty.
- the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also carried out a month-long crackdown in July 2019 on MSBs at risk of being used for money laundering to fund organised crime.
Nick Sharp, Deputy Director of Economic Crime, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
- Businesses who fail to comply with the money laundering regulations leave themselves, and the UK economy, open to attacks by criminals.
- Money laundering is not a victimless crime.
- Criminals use laundered cash to fund serious organised crime, from drug importation to child sexual exploitation, human trafficking and even terrorism.