In march 2018 it was reported in the FT that following a review of 50 firms two-thirds found lagging in compliance procedures.
In a review of 50 firms designed to test the sector’s compliance with new, tougher anti-money laundering regulations, the watchdog found only a third had carried out a mandatory risk assessment of their anti-money laundering procedures or were in the process of implementing one.
In six of the 50, which ranged from high street to City firms, the SRA found serious concerns that merited “ongoing disciplinary processes”.
Over the past three years
- the SRA has closed down eight law firms over money-laundering concerns, although in some cases the action was preventive and without definitive proof of wrongdoing.
- A further 14 companies shut down of their own accord after the watchdog raised concerns.
- The SRA has also referred 49 lawyers to the disciplinary tribunal, resulting in 12 being struck off, the suspension of 13 and more than £800,000 in fines.
- Last April the firm Clyde & Co was ordered to pay a fine of £50,000 and three of its lawyers were fined £10,000 each over various allegations, including failure to comply with accounting rules and to act in accordance with money laundering regulations.
Paul Philip, SRA chief executive said:
“The credibility of law firms makes them an obvious target for criminals wishing to launder money. Tackling it is crucial not only to maintain trust in the profession, but also for the good of society.”
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