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Failing to report money laundering or tipping off is there a risk of prosecution?


Recent UK data shows a low level of prosecutions for failing to report money laundering or tipping off, as follows:-

Tipping off

The data from the Justice Ministry also shows that from 2012 to 2021, U.K. prosecutors charged.

  • Only one individual with “tipping off”— “prejudicing” a police investigation by alerting an account holder that their transactions have drawn attention from law enforcement.
  • The case ended without a conviction. Prosecutors accused three other individuals of “prejudicing” a money laundering investigation by falsifying, hiding or destroying evidence or by making an unlawful disclosure but did not secure any convictions.


It has been reported that the U.K. authorities in the decade up to December 2021,

  • Opened 23 criminal cases against employees of banks and other companies for failing to report suspicious activity.

Statistics from the U.K. Justice Ministry indicate that from 2012 to 2021, prosecutors.

  • Launched 21 cases and secured 16 convictions against individual employees accused of violating section 330.
  • They also secured four convictions against MLROs during those 10 years, but opened only two new cases.


In June 2021, the Crown Prosecution Service effectively lowered the threshold for charging individuals under section 330 by clarifying that prosecutors can open such cases even without evidence showing that money laundering occurred. Investigators welcomed the change, but the CPS pumped the brakes on their expectations, predicting that the new policy would not lead to a “significant increase” in prosecutions against professional enablers of financial crime.


One of the rare cases opened under section 331 targeted Dominic Thorncroft, the owner, director and MLRO of VS1, a money services business in London through which Chinese fraudsters moved £850,000 in criminally derived funds nine years ago. Thorncroft was convicted in June 2021 of failing to report suspicious payments to UKFIU, breaching AML rules and retaining a wrongful credit but acquitted of laundering money.


Six months later, a court in London fined NatWest £265 million for AML breaches that allowed Fowler Oldfield, a jewelry wholesaler in Bradford, to funnel nearly £290 million of suspicious cash into and through the bank from 2012 to 2016.

The FCA found that NatWest staff internally flagged large cash deposits into Fowler Oldfield’s account at least 11 times during those four years but on several other occasions failed to do so. In one branch, employees neither noticed nor warned their managers of at least £42 million cash deposits credited to the wholesaler. NatWest did not file a single SAR pertaining to Fowler Oldfield until July 2014, when the bank learned from the National Crime Agency that the company was under investigation. But those alleged reporting failures have not led to a prosecution of NatWest or any of the bank’s employees.


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