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The UK regulatory authorities asserted that new data revealed prosecutors inadequately comply with regulations and ignore money laundering red flags.
A decade of the latest data about the UK’s solicitors shows that few cases against financial criminals were brought to the court, whilst only a handful of wealthy people were charged. Regulatory authorities accused prosecutors of being too weak to comply with AML regulations. Last month, they disclosed two reports emphasising inadequate checks against reporting suspicious transactions and wealthy tax cheats. Recent government data shows the UK authorities opened 23 cases from 2012 to 2021 for failing to report money laundering crimes.
Employees at financial institutions or other businesses who violate anti-money laundering regulations risk criminal charges if they fail to disclose suspicious activities to their organisations’ internal reporting systems or the nation’s financial surveillance. The criminal lawyer, Ruth Paley, said that most of the cases are against individual people, she stated, “tangled up in wider criminal conduct, such as employees who’ve been placed inside a bank branch to help launder money. These are unlikely to be hapless individuals who haven’t done their job properly.”
In 2020, a global report from the International Association of Investigation journalists exposed the essential role played by the world’s largest banks in worldwide money laundering crimes. Based on the data leaked from the Treasury Department and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), they claimed thousands of UK counterfeit companies received billions of money from suspicious transactions and showed how the top British bankers onboard high-risk clients. The United Kingdom’s Labour Party member, Lawmaker Margaret Hodge, stated, “we know from the FinCEN files that high street banks all too often believe that they can get away with a tick box exercise, meanwhile failing to pursue blatant wrongdoing robustly. The system needs a complete overhaul with tougher duties on banks and professional enablers and a well-resourced enforcement capability.”
In another report, the government also added prosecutors under liability for the fewest cases of the tax cheats. The Investigation Bureau revealed only 11 people were prosecuted for tax fraud last year. It shows the UK solicitors are not complying with strict regulations, which is vulnerable to the integrity of the worldwide financial ecosystem. A financial crime consultant and former Scotland Yard detective, Tristram Hicks, added, “the investigation of tax fraud would benefit from a multi agency approach like the Criminal Assets Bureau in Ireland, which appears to pursue tax evasion more frequently than the UK.”