Recent investigations and opinions from acclaimed crime experts state that London is now the money laundering capital of the world and that dirty money is flowing through UK bank accounts every second.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) recently issued a threat assessment that stated “We assess that hundreds of billions of US dollars of criminal money almost certainly continue to be laundered through UK banks, including their subsidiaries, each year.”
Even though the UK is helping to develop international standards to tackle money laundering, the continued extent of the problem amounts to a strategic threat to the UK’s economy and reputation. The money laundering networks are being used by organised crime, as well as terrorist organisations.
Money laundering is highly illegal and often used in the drug trade where high volumes of cash change hands. This money has to be “cleaned” to be made legitimate. To discover more about it, read our blog What is Money Laundering?
Why is Money Laundering so Prolific in London?
Many are blaming the lack of enforcement by UK financial regulators, and banks and other financial institutions know they can get away with paying lip service to the rules. There are rules that state that banks must ensure that before they accept money from a client, they have to have a clear picture of where it has come from.
Banks also need to know as much as possible about their clients, their businesses, the sources of their funds, and if they have held a high political office anywhere in the world. This is to ensure that the monies being deposited are not proceeds of international aid payments that have been stolen from the country’s Treasury. But sadly these rules are often flouted, fudged, or ignored.
So How Does Money Laundering Affect Me?
When money laundering goes unchecked and unregulated, more criminals have access to money and a way to live off proceeds of crime. Without a crack-down on the practice, the life of crime can seem like the way to make a living, especially when there are career criminals living the high life in million pound mansions and driving flashy cars.
If you run a legitimate business you must keep an eye out for suspicious activity, especially if someone is paying for an expensive product with a large amount of cash. Criminals often use dirty money to purchase large items as the money is then harder to trace. This is even more common when they buy something that they can easily sell on, such as expensive jewellery or cars.
Any suspicions of money laundering must be reported and you will need immediate legal advice. Slater and Gordon Lawyers are recognised as market leaders in the field of fraud and white collar crime and have represented clients including companies, professionals, senior business executives and other individuals in numerous money laundering cases.
Contact us for a free initial consultation on freephone 0800 916 9054 or contact us online and we will call you.