It is thought that the scale of money laundering affecting the UK annually is in the hundreds of billions of pounds. Unfortunately, legal professionals are at risk of being targeted for their skills and services to hold or transfer money because of the perceived legitimacy this offers.
The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on Payer) Regulations 2017 (known as Money Laundering Regulations 2017) set the rules for enforcement of the anti-money laundering legislation. They were updated by the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019 .
They require all independent legal professionals that provide legal or notarial services and/or trust and company services to be supervised for compliance by one of the specified professional bodies (also known as anti-money laundering supervisory authorities) or by HMRC.
It is vital that you understand your regulatory and legal obligations including the Criminal Finances Act 2017, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2017. The penalties for aiding a money launderer range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offence.
The following sections will help you understand how to deal with the risks of being targeted for money laundering. These include:
- Who can supervise you
- Possible risks you might face
- Sectoral guidance
- How to do a risk assessment
- Templates to help with policies and procedures; and
- How to report suspicions, including whistleblowing
The Joint Money Laundering Steering Group provides comprehensive Guidance on Anti-Money Laundering procedures for the financial services sector, which provides a valuable resource for the rest of the regulated sector
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body whose purpose is the development and promotion of national and international policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Its 40 Recommendations are backed by mutual evaluations of its member countries.
CILEx Regulation is a member of the Legal Sector Intelligence Sharing Expert Working Group (ISEWG).