Record £23.8 million fine issued for money laundering breaches

07 January 2021

HMRC has issued a press release, alongside the latest list of businesses that have been presented with fines for noncompliance with stringent regulations that were implemented in order to stop criminals from laundering illicit cash.

Money laundering is the process that criminals use to disguise money and assets earned through criminal activity.

One company was given a record fine of £23.8 million, and some of the breaches of regulations recorded related to:

  • Risk assessments and associated record-keeping
  • Policies, controls, and procedures
  • Fundamental customer due diligence measures

There are over 30,000 UK businesses that are supervised by HMRC, and this includes 1,500 principal Money Service Businesses (MSBs). HMRC assists these companies in protecting themselves from criminals who are attempting to finance terrorism or trying to launder cash.

HMRC works in conjunction with partner law enforcement agencies and government departments to reduce the criminal abuse of the sector via tightened registration, enhanced understanding of the risks, and action focussed on any MSBs identified as being at the highest risk of being targeted by organised crime.

Figures recorded in the 2020-21 report are higher, but in 2019-20, 2,000 interventions were completed by HMRC on supervised businesses, resulting in penalties amounting to £9.1 million. In addition to this, 89 businesses and individuals deemed as being non-compliant were prevented from trading. More than £166 million was recovered from the proceeds of crime, and over £22 million of this related to money laundering offences.

Details of businesses that fail to comply with Money Laundering Regulations (MLRs) 2017, that have received a penalty, are published as this is one of the responsibilities placed on HMRC under those same regulations.

There is guidance on anti-money laundering for MSBs available on GOV.UK.

 


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