We have previously written here on the London Registrars blog about the very genuine threat that continues to be posed by money laundering to the UK’s national security, prosperity and reputation around the world.
In that piece, we touched on how money laundering arises, why the UK’s openness to entrepreneurs and business owners comparative to many other jurisdictions can make it a particular target for money laundering, and the steps our team here at the London Registrars take to guard against illegal activity.
All of this, however, raises another important question: what is the UK’s lead agency against organised crime, cybercrime and economic crime – the National Crime Agency (NCA) – doing to address the country’s money-laundering risk?
Creating a “hostile environment” for would-be money launderers
The NCA has said that it aims to make the UK a “hostile environment” for money laundering through the implementation of the following measures:
- the targeting of individuals involved in money laundering so that they can be prosecuted and convicted, and their methods disrupted
- the recovery and confiscation of assets
- the training of financial investigators from across law enforcement in the UK
- putting in place barriers to the potential abuse of the UK financial system
The agency has stated that it proactively tackles illicit finance to deny the assets of politically-exposed persons (PEPs) and corrupt elites of a range of jurisdictions. It has also said that it is actively looking at how new legislative powers from the Criminal Finances Act could be used; it is possible to recover criminal assets with the help of Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs), and the NCA has made a “number” of applications for UWOs since the provisions came into force.
In addition, the NCA has said it has made multiple successful Account Freezing Orders (AFOs), as a means of freezing millions of pounds in accounts.
The ever-more international nature of finance – entailing the swift transferral of money and assets between jurisdictions, products and services – has led to the NCA working closely alongside domestic and international partners to address the threat of money laundering around the globe.
The agency has described private-sector engagement as “critical” to efforts to effectively tackle money laundering. To this end, the agency cooperates with major financial institutions to allow it to pinpoint and disrupt instances of money laundering in both the UK and other territories.
What else has the agency said about its anti-money-laundering activities?
The NCA has further commented about its measures against money laundering: “By identifying and arresting money launderers, we are able to disrupt further criminal activity, as well as making the UK a difficult environment for those who seek to use it to launder criminal finances.
“Working in partnership with other law enforcement and private sector organisations will help us support financial institutions’ own efforts, provide training and insight to help financial personnel to spot the signs of money laundering, and develop new ways to identify and arrest offenders.”
The agency further stated that the recovery and confiscation of criminal assets aided its efforts to prevent criminal networks from continuing their use of money laundering routes.
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