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Anti-money laundering expert convicted of siphoning criminal money abroad

25/06/2021

The former chairman of a UK group that represents the payment services industry has been convicted today (23 June 2021) of laundering the proceeds of an investment fraud worth £850,000 and involving more than 60 victims.

Dominic Thorncroft, 56, was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of one count of money laundering, one count of breaching money laundering regulations and four counts of retaining a wrongful credit. Thorncroft was the former Chair of the Association of UK Payment Institutions who worked with lawmakers and financial regulators providing anti-money laundering advice and training.

Thorncroft held himself out as a money laundering expert whose role was to protect members of the public and businesses from economic crime. However, he was a professional enabler to fraudsters, allowing his business to transfer their criminal proceeds abroad.

An investigation by the Metropolitan Police, which began in 2016, found evidence that linked Thorncroft to an investment fraud which took place in 2014. This investigation revealed that Thorncroft had allowed his Money Service Bureau business to be used by the fraudsters to transfer money to Hong Kong and China.

The CPS and the police were able to prove that Thorncroft must have known or suspected that the money passing through his business’s bank accounts was criminal property. Despite his substantial knowledge and expertise of money laundering, Thorncroft failed to alert the authorities to the suspicious activity and allowed it to continue.

Stephane Pendered of the CPS said: “Dominic Thorncroft did not commit the fraud himself. However, his actions have allowed £850,000 defrauded from 60 individuals to be dispersed across the world.

“Thorncroft promoted himself as an anti-money laundering expert but failed to live up to the standards he set for others.

“When his business was clearly being used to launder criminal property, he chose to ignore what was happening. He presumably did so for his own personal gain, enjoying the commissions from money deprived from victims and transferred across the globe.”

The CPS is committed to continue to work alongside law enforcement to bring prosecutions where professional enablers are seen to assist criminals in this way. The CPS is also committed to working more widely with banks, businesses, charities and beyond, to help educate others so that they can avoid becoming victims of economic crime.

This case was prosecuted by the Specialist Fraud Division of the CPS, a dedicated prosecuting team which deals with the most serious, complex, and difficult economic crime cases, including corruption and money laundering.

Detective Sergeant Mark Hoddinott, from the Central Specialist Crime Command (Economic Crime), Metropolitan Police, said: "This was a really complex fraud investigation where a person with serious responsibilities and knowledge of the regulations around anti-money laundering failed in their duties to make the required disclosures to the authorities.

“If Thorncroft had complied with his own company policies, then he would not have been prosecuted. Instead, he paid absolutely no regards to his overriding duty to anti-money regulations; consequently, many individuals suffered great financial loss and considerable personal trauma.

"In his role as the chairperson of AUKPI, Dominic Thorncroft worked closely with lawmakers, regulators, banks, and other financial institutions, representing the interests of the money remittance sector. The AUKPI provided its members with anti-money laundering training. Mr Thorncroft has clearly betrayed his AUKPI members and ruined his career.

"Thornicroft’s failings cost the sixty-plus victims more than three-quarters of a million pounds and allowed an overseas fraudster to profit from their misery.

"I'm really pleased that a dedicated team of Met officers investigating this case have secured this conviction, especially to Detective Constable Silje Mikkelsen for her investigative tenacity and commitment to supporting the victims. I would also like to express my thanks and gratitude go out to the jury who I am sure at times found the case being presented before them complex and possibly confusing.

"Today's conviction is a reminder to those working in the regulated sector of their duties when it comes to money laundering regulations.”

Notes to editors
Stephane Pendered is a specialist prosecutor for the CPS Specialist Fraud Division The Specialist Fraud Division is a dedicated CPS team playing a leading role in the fight against serious and complex economic crime and the financial exploitation of the public, using specialist legal expertise to deliver justice The CPS Economic Crime Strategy 2025 is available on our website https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/anti-money-laundering-expert-convicted-siphoning-criminal-money-abroad

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