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Transparency International Welcomes Government targeting of dirty money ‘enablers’

1st November 2018, London – Transparency International today welcomes the Governments promise to crackdown on those in the private sector who are turning a blind eye to dirty money passing through their institutions. The Government should deliver on its commitment to hold businesses to account for failing to prevent money laundering by making this a criminal offence.

Our research has long found that estate agents, private schools, luxury goods retailers, solicitors, accountants and other services that come into contact with large sums of money have been lax at reporting suspicious transactions. This has enabled the flow of dirty money, including corrupt money that has been stolen from overseas, to flow through these sectors.

Whilst businesses should file suspicious activity reports (SARs) when they encounter potential money laundering just 6 out of the 423,000 filed last year came from education institutions.

As part of its new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy the Government has said it will be targeting those in the UK who enable the laundering of dirty money into the UK. It has previously promised to consult on making it a criminal offence to allow illicit wealth to pass through businesses without reporting it – the Government must now introduce legislation on this.

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

“The Government is today launching this new organised crime strategy in London’s tallest building, with the City of London skyline as its backdrop. This should send a very clear message to the private sector that burying their heads in the sand over this problem is no longer acceptable. They must fulfil their obligations in helping to prevent the flow of dirty money into the UK.” 

“For too long businesses have had no serious deterrent to force them to raise the red flag when encountering suspicious transactions. A new law that would make this a criminal offence is urgently needed to make the private sector more effective as the first line of defence against money laundering.”

 “When money is stolen from overseas it is never a victimless crime. It deprives people, often in the poorest parts of the world, of vital public services like schools and hospitals. When we accept that stolen wealth into our economy we become complicit in this theft”

***ENDS***

Contact:

Dominic Kavakeb
Dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk
020 3096 7695
075 4596 5302

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Read 66 times Last modified on Thursday, 1 November 2018 12:09

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