Print Article

The second-highest amount of money is laundered each year in the UK, with an estimated £88bn worth of money cleaned by criminals annually


Only the US sees more, with £216.5bn laundered annually, while France (£54.5bn), Germany (£51.3bn) and Canada (£25.6bn) also rank among the top five counties in terms of value of money laundered.

The figures, from identity verification software maker Credas Technologies, put together using OECD data, also revealed that about £1.8tn is laundered globally each year, some 3% of total GDP.

Money laundering, and its links to organised crime, is a serious global problem that banks find themselves at the centre of, with their failures to spot suspicious activity partly to blame for the high volumes and value of money cleaned by criminals in the UK.

In October, NatWest Bank admitted that operational failures, including weaknesses in automated monitoring systems, meant that it failed to prevent the money laundering of £400m. It pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to failing to comply with anti-money laundering regulations between 2012 and 2016.

Following the admission, the bank’s CEO, Alison Rose, said: “In the years since this case, we have invested significant resources and continue to enhance our efforts to effectively combat financial crime.”

Technology is key to reducing money laundering, with systems using technology such as artificial intelligence scanning transactions and highlighting suspicious activity.

Tim Barnett, CEO at Credas Technologies said: “The practice of money laundering is as old as the hills; it’s one area of criminal activity that is incredibly tricky to eradicate as it can be done in such a vast and varied number of ways.”

“It’s also a practice that continues to evolve with the times, and in more recent years we’ve seen criminals utilise online banking, cryptocurrencies and, most recently, NFT marketplaces, in order to wash dirty cash.”

Financial Conduct Authority regulations mean finance firms must have adequate anti-money laundering systems and controls in place. Anti-money laundering software automates the monitoring of suspicious activity being carried out on a bank’s network.

In Germany, neo bank N26 was fined €4.25m by the German financial services regulator for weak anti-money laundering practices related to the late filing of about 50 suspicious activity reports in 2019 and 2020.

But there have been some much higher fines. Swedbank was fined €347m by regulators in Sweden and Estonia in 2020 for breaching money laundering laws, Dutch bank ING was fined €775m in 2018 for failing to prevent the laundering of hundreds of millions of euros between 2010 and 2016, and in 2017, Citigroup agreed to pay almost $100m and admitted criminal violations as it settled an investigation into breaches of anti-money laundering rules involving money transfers between the US and Mexico.


The Team

Meet the team of industry experts behind Comsure

Find out more

Latest News

Keep up to date with the very latest news from Comsure

Find out more


View our latest imagery from our news and work

Find out more


Think we can help you and your business? Chat to us today

Get In Touch

News Disclaimer

As well as owning and publishing Comsure's copyrighted works, Comsure wishes to use the copyright-protected works of others. To do so, Comsure is applying for exemptions in the UK copyright law. There are certain very specific situations where Comsure is permitted to do so without seeking permission from the owner. These exemptions are in the copyright sections of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended)[]. Many situations allow for Comsure to apply for exemptions. These include 1] Non-commercial research and private study, 2] Criticism, review and reporting of current events, 3] the copying of works in any medium as long as the use is to illustrate a point. 4] no posting is for commercial purposes [payment]. (for a full list of exemptions, please read here]. Concerning the exceptions, Comsure will acknowledge the work of the source author by providing a link to the source material. Comsure claims no ownership of non-Comsure content. The non-Comsure articles posted on the Comsure website are deemed important, relevant, and newsworthy to a Comsure audience (e.g. regulated financial services and professional firms [DNFSBs]). Comsure does not wish to take any credit for the publication, and the publication can be read in full in its original form if you click the articles link that always accompanies the news item. Also, Comsure does not seek any payment for highlighting these important articles. If you want any article removed, Comsure will automatically do so on a reasonable request if you email