Home Secretary launches biggest reforms to money laundering regime in a decade

The Home Secretary has unveiled a new action plan to deal with money laundering and corruption.

The plan includes reform to the fundamental reform of the suspicious activity reports regime and the creation of new powers such as Unexplained Wealth Orders requiring those suspected of money laundering to declare their wealth and the provision of a linked forfeiture power for use where the answers provided are unsatisfactory, or where the subject of a UWO fails to respond

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Britain’s world leading financial system is at risk of being undermined by money laundering, illicit finance and the funding of terrorism. The laundering of proceeds of crime through UK institutions is not only a financial crime, it fuels political instability around the world, supports terrorists and extremism and poses a direct and immediate threat to our domestic security and our overseas interests.

“This action plan sends a clear message that we will not tolerate this type of activity in our financial institutions. We will forge a new partnership with industry to improve suspicious activity reporting, deliver deeper information-sharing and take joint action on enforcement. And we will act vigorously against the criminals and terrorists responsible, to protect the security and prosperity of our citizens, and safeguard the integrity of Britain’s financial economy.”

Responding to the proposed powers, Transparency International’s executive director Robert Barrington said: “There are some excellent ideas here, but the proof of the pudding will be in whether they are put into action.

“The powers that are envisaged could make a real difference and, while it is important they are properly debated in Parliament to allay any concerns over civil liberties, it is equally important that they are not watered down by self-interested lobbying during the consultation process.”

“We are particularly supportive of unexplained wealth orders, an illicit enrichment offence and reform of the AML supervisory regime.”

The government have also issued a call for information on the subject.

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