Economic Crime

What is Economic Crime?

Economic Crime refers to a variety of activities involving money, finance or assets, that criminals use to obtain a profit or advantage or cause loss to others. This causes serious harm to society and individuals by:

  • allowing criminals to benefit from the proceeds of their crimes or fund further criminality
  • damaging our financial system and harming the interests of legitimate business
  • undermining the integrity of the UK’s financial reputation
  • poses a risk to the UK’s prosperity and national security.

The government is committed to tackling economic crime and illicit finance, and looking to the support of law enforcement, regulators, businesses, and the public in helping us all achieve this aim.

CILEx Regulation’s role in preventing and detecting economic crime

As an AML supervisor and one of the regulators who has taken steps to uphold the government’s sanctions regime, CRL has already recognised its responsibilities to work to address the known or unknown facilitation of economic crime amongst our regulated communities. This is also enshrined within the existing regulatory objectives and CRL has set out these obligations and expectations within the CILEX Code of Conduct.

Our regulated individuals and firms are required to comply with the CILEX Code of Conduct and Principle 4 requires them to:

“Comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with regulators and ombudsmen openly, promptly and co-operatively.

You must understand and comply with the law and regulation applicable to you.”

Therefore, CRL has an expectation of those it regulates that they take action to both prevent and report any economic crime and comply with the relevant legislation that is in place to protect us all from economic crime. If there is evidence that you do not comply with your legal obligations, then CRL may take appropriate disciplinary action.

CRL provides guidance to assist our individuals and firms and the links on this page will help you with complying with our expectations specifically on money laundering and financial sanctions.

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 and the Ninth Regulatory Objective

The Act came into effect on the 26 October 2023 and, in addition to other reforms and new powers, provided clarity on the legal regulators obligations and responsibilities by adding a new regulatory objective to the Legal Services Act 2007

The new regulatory objective relates to: “Promoting the prevention and detection of economic crime”.

Economic crime is defined as meaning an act which –

(a) constitutes an offence listed in Schedule 11 (“a listed offence”),

(b) constitutes an attempt or conspiracy to commit a listed offence,

(c) constitutes an offence –

(i) under Part 2 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 (England and Wales and Northern Ireland: encouraging or assisting crime) in relation to a listed offence, or

(ii) under the law of Scotland of inciting the commission of a listed offence,

(d) constitutes aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of a listed offence, or

(e) would constitute a listed offence or an offence specified in paragraph (b), (c) or (d) if done in the United Kingdom;

CRL is working with the Legal Services Board and the other legal regulators to establish shared principles and expectations for delivering against this new objective.

Who is involved in the UK’s Economic Crime Response?

The UK’s response to economic crime is a collaborative effort and it starts with our regulated individuals and firms:

Additional resources

Financial Sanctions

Anti-Money Laundering Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 – factsheets

Home Office Economic Crime Quarterly Newsletter:

Economic Crime Quarterly – April 2024

Economic Crime Quarterly – December 2023

Economic Crime Quarterly – October 2023

Economic Crime Quarterly – May 2023


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