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National Crime Agency warns of Brexit money laundering risk

National Crime Agency warns of Brexit money laundering risk
Transparency International to give evidence to Parliament tomorrow

14th May 2018, London – Coming a day after a warning from the National Crime Agency that Brexit increases the chance that UK businesses will come into contact with corruption, Transparency International will give evidence to MPs on ending the UK’s role as a safe haven for dirty money from overseas.

Duncan Hames, Transparency International UK’s Director of Policy, will appear before the Treasury Select Committee Economic Crime Inquiry and challenge the UK Government to live up to its ambition to be a world leader in corporate transparency and stopping illicit financial flows. Transparency International research has found £4.4 billion worth of property across the UK bought with suspicious wealth – one fifth by individuals from Russia.

The Committee hearing comes a day after publication from the National Crime Agency’s 2018 Assessment of Serious and Organised Crime that warns the scale of money laundering impacting the UK is hundreds of billions of pounds each year. The report assesses that following Brexit there will be increased exposure of British businesses to money laundering and corruption and affirms that London property continues to be an “attractive mechanism” to launder funds.

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, said: 

“This latest report from the National Crime Agency affirms our long-held view that the UK has been a safe haven for corrupt money from overseas. It rightly considers the risks associated with new trade deals for British businesses in a post-Brexit environment, which means robust anti-corruption mechanisms will be more important than ever.”

“Revealing who really owns the overseas companies buying UK property will be an important step towards lifting the veil of secrecy favoured by corrupt individuals looking to launder dirty money into the UK. The longer we have to wait for this register, the longer corrupt individuals will be able to use the UK property market to hide their illicit wealth. It continues to have cross-party support so a government committed to tackling corrupt money in the UK should make this a legislative priority.” 

“The Treasury Committee’s inquiry into economic crime is a timely opportunity for Parliament to call for more urgent action, and I welcome the chance to present Transparency International’s evidence and recommendations.”

In its submission to the Treasury Committee Inquiry, Transparency International recommended:

1. Accelerate its timeline for introducing a public register of the real owners of overseas companies being used to buy UK property and bid for UK Government contracts

2. Prohibit company formation agents that are not registered with a UK anti-money laundering supervisor from setting up companies in the UK

3. Empower Companies House to identify suspicious activity in the company register

4. Bring the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies up to UK standards of beneficial ownership transparency (a recent amendment to the Sanctions and AML Bill in Parliament has since provided positive movement on this front)

5. Consolidate and further reform the UK’s anti-money laundering (AML) supervisory system

***ENDS***

Contact:

Dominic Kavakeb
020 3096 7695
079 6456 0340
dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk

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Read 336 times Last modified on Monday, 14 May 2018 17:23

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