Deficient 'dirty-money' regulation leaves UK open to terror funds: Report

23 November 2015

Billions of pounds of corrupt funds are entering the UK, with only a small portion being detected and investigated by the authorities, says Transparency International UK, which has called on the government to strip the various private sector institutions and professional bodies of their AML supervisory roles and consider creation of a single, well-resourced "super" supervisor to protect the UK from the menace.

Of the 22 supervisory bodies that oversaw the key sectors - financial services, law, accountancy, property, luxury goods, and trust and company service providers - only one was above a low or unreported level of enforcement of the rules, according to Transparency.

Rachel Davies, TI-UK senior advocacy manager, said: "Given that the prime minister has rightly said that dirty cash is not welcome in the UK, it is appalling that a shambolic system is failing to stop that flow, reported.

"Corrupt individuals are still finding the UK to be a safe haven for their ill-gotten gains and the vast majority of institutions that are meant to prevent that from happening are not up to the job. The average house price in central London is more than the total amount of fines dished out to those who laundered money through property last year.

"If the UK wants to permanently shut the door on dirty money, there must be a serious change in this flawed system. We are proposing that the patchwork of different supervisors be replaced by one single organisation, with enough resources to start the process of a consistent and effective approach to AML in the UK."

According to the report, `Don't Look, Won't Find', in property, only 179 cases were deemed suspicious by estate agents in 2013-14, and in art and auction houses, only 15 suspicious cases had been reported.

"The UK supervision system, which should be protecting the country from criminal and terrorist funding, is not fit for purpose," Reuters quoted TI-UK's head of Advocacy and Research Nick Maxwell as saying.

"Those vulnerabilities can be exploited by sophisticated terrorist organisations as well as the corrupt."

According to the report, penalties for professionals such as lawyers and estate agents who failed to comply with anti-money laundering regulations were also too small to act as a deterrent.

 search domain-b