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Money laundering

If you are in business, the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws and regulations apply to you.

In its Proceeds of Crime report (2016-17), the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons pointed out that:

“The successful prevention of money laundering is particularly pertinent to effective recovery of proceeds of crime because, if a criminal is able to successfully hide their criminal proceeds within legitimate financial transactions, it renders the investigators, prosecutors, courts and enforcement agencies powerless to seize or recover illicit gains”

The laws and regulations apply to both regulated and non-regulated sectors and classes of business. Moreover, the authorities are ever increasingly looking towards high value assets, both portable and non-portable, from lifestyle choices in the gaming industry to large scale layering in the real estate sector.

It is very easy to become involved in what are sometimes multi-faceted and complex money laundering or terrorist financing schemes and transactions. The penalties – financial fines, criminal prosecution and imprisonment, not to mention reputational damage – can lead to loss of livelihood and liberty and are expensive, stressful and potentially life changing.

Our experienced lawyers advise on hundreds of transactions each year and are on-hand to help you. We are able to spot the red flags which should put you on enquiry and we know how to deal with each situation as it arises.

We can help you and your business in the following ways:

  • Establishing systems and controls which stand up to scrutiny
  • Client due diligence (CDD) and also enhanced due diligence
  • Smart tools so all your staff can assess the required CDD and know what to do
  • Preparing and filing suspicious activity reports with the UK FIU
  • Ensuring you understand and meet the requirements of the 4th Money laundering directive
  • Training your MLRO and staff
  • Advising on the criminal and civil implications of a transaction, including tracing claims, knowing receipt and other forms of potential liability
  • Using IT systems to assist with money laundering checks
  • Conducting internal investigations

Recent examples of our work include:

  • Helping an Isle of Man asset manager who was advising corporate directors on the need to report any knowledge or suspicion of a transaction completing in the UK. We supported the registration requirements at the NCA and drafted the client’s reports.
  • Acting for a property developer who had concerns about the buyer – a BVI entity purchasing in cash. The directors were very young (under 20 years old in one case) and were related to an individual with criminal charges against them. We advised on the legal requirements, reporting obligations and also the criminal and civil risks in handling the sale proceeds.
  • Advising asset managers who were paying out dividends to shareholders, where guidance was needed in relation to constructive trusts and other personal legal liabilities.
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