Government crackdown on economic crime

The government has launched an Economic Crime Plan, a joint initiative with law enforcement, business and professional services firms, to share data and pool resources, in a bid to crack down on fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption

The plan, agreed between the Chancellor Philip Hammond, home secretary Sajid Javid, and heads of law enforcement, major financial institutions, accountancy and law firms, and property companies, will encourage improved levels of information sharing, resource pooling and technological innovation.

The 76-page document lists a number of actions, including £48m of previously announced funding to continue to build the National Economic Crime Centre and help the National Crime Agency to better utilise data to proactively target fraudsters and those laundering dirty money.

Barclays, HSBC UK, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, RBS and Santander UK will invest £6.5m in 2019/20, in addition to the £3.5m committed by the Home Office this year reform of the suspicious activity reporting (SAR) regime.

The Financial Conduct Authority is establishing a new cryptoassets regime.

Alongside the economic crime plan, the government is publishing a new asset recovery action plan. This highlights £1.6bn has been taken from criminals between April 2010 and March 2018 using the powers in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).

Many hundreds of millions of pounds have been frozen, but the government acknowledges that the value of assets recovered has declined in recent years from a peak in 2016.

The plan sets out measures designed to ensure the relevant agencies have the powers they need to enhance efforts to claw back the proceeds of crime, including those held abroad.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said: ‘By bringing together leaders from across government, law enforcement and business, we can better tackle the scourge of dirty money, and ensure the UK continues to be one of the safest places in the world to invest and do business.’

John Edwards, CEO of the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) said: ‘Risk-based supervision and risk management is one of the key priorities in the plan which is central to the prevention of economic crime.

‘As a professional accountancy body and supervisory body for anti-money laundering the IFA welcomes and fully supports the strategic priorities that have been set out to overhaul the approach to tackling economic crime.

‘Organised crime will search out professional enablers (ie’ those able to offer a professional money laundering service) and money launderers to facilitate crimes. Professionals can be complicit or targeted, often required to open doors and provide services such as signing off transactions and moving client money; services which are not always knowingly criminal actions, but which can facilitate organised criminality.’

Economic crime plan 2019 to 2022

Asset recovery action plan

By Pat Sweet |16-07-2019

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