Money Laundering Sentences 32% Longer Than 10 Years Ago

People convicted of money-laundering offences now face jail sentences around a third longer than a decade ago.

According to Thomson Reuters, the average prison sentence for offences related to money-laundering commanded an average prison sentence of 27 months in 2018.

This represents a 32% average sentence increase when compared with the 20.5 month average sentence served in December 2008.

More stringent and strict sentencing guidelines were launched in 2014 by the Sentencing Council. The independent body further introduced sentences for money-laundering and bribery for the first time with maximum sentences of 14 years.

Increased prison sentences, measures such as Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWO) and the seizure of property and assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) highlight the Government’s intention to stem the flow of money-laundering costing the UK an estimated £6.8 billion per year.

Earlier this week, the National Crime Agency used the POCA to seize £472,740 from a convicted long-term money launderer, Kashaf Ali Khan.

After using his father’s name to purchase the Solihull property with money Khan claimed to have won playing the Pakistan lottery, the NCA looked into his past and investigated the sale further.

The investigation discovered a past cluttered with offences connected to money-laundering. Khan was first convicted in 2009, receiving fines of £175,000 in 2012; a fine the NCA claim was paid using funds obtained illegally.

Phil Houghton, NCA investigating officer, said:

“Kashaf Ali Khan wrongfully thought he could get away with funding his lifestyle by criminal means.

“Offenders like Khan play an enabling role for other criminals to move and clean the proceeds of crime. They will be relentlessly pursued by the NCA.

“The issue poses a priority threat for the NCA and we do everything possible to combat it.

“This order is a warning to those who believe they can benefit financially from a criminal lifestyle – crime doesn’t pay.”

Charles Thomson, Partner at Baker McKenzie, said:

“The new sentencing guidelines have opened the door for prosecutors to demand even longer sentences for the UK’s money launderers.

“It seems as though judges are more willing than ever to accept prosecutions’ cases that money-laundering offences deserve some of the harshest punishments available.”

Will these increased and more severe measures deter money-laundering?

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