A defence is available for the principle money laundering offences prescribed by ss327-329 Proceeds of Crime ACT 2002 (POCA) if a consent to the dealing is granted by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in response to the submission of a SAR.
Further, every person working in the regulated sector has a legal obligation to report suspicious financial activity that might indicate money laundering. The report is made by submitting a Suspicious Activity Report to SOCA using its prescribed form found on its website.
It is also an offence to disclose the fact that a Suspicious Activity Report has been made, known as the “tipping off” offence.
Offences of failing to report and tipping off carry a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment.
Since the introduction of POCA the number of Suspicious Activity Reports has significantly increased. According to figures published by the SOCA the number of Suspicious Activity Reports filed in 2002 was 64,164; in 2012 that figure was with a gradual rise in reports from the banking sector.
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