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  • In UK law, money laundering is defined very widely, and includes all forms of handling or possessing criminal property, including possessing the proceeds of one's own crime, and facilitating any handling or possession of criminal property. Criminal property may take any form, including in money or money's worth, securities, tangible property and intangible property.

    Money laundering can be carried out in respect of the proceeds of conduct that is an offence in the UK as well as most conduct occurring elsewhere that would have been an offence if it had taken place in the UK.

    Latest News

    Ukraine Unrest – risk of corrupt asset flight

    The recent political unrest in the Ukraine has raised the risk of corrupt asset flight. Firms and financial institutions are therefore to be reminded of their duties under the Money Laundering Regulations and the Proceeds of Crime Act. Corrupt asset flight may be facilitated through companies and other legal arrangements, or other transactions designed to quickly liquidate assets held in the UK.  Robust beneficial ownership checks by firms are therefore vital. Firms who have clients with links to the Ukraine should consider this potential increased risk when performing due diligence, ongoing monitoring and beneficial ownership checks.  The FCA press release can be viewed here.

    Consent Requests Guidance Released

    The National Crime Agency has released its annual guidance note on consent requests in the Accountancy sector.  This publication gives some useful insight into the main issues around consent and what reporters should be aware of when applying for consent.  The guidance can be viewed here.

    Updated Sanctions List Released 

    HM Treasury has released an updated list of financial sanctions targets for the UK.  The list is available here.  

    JMLSG Issues Amendments to 2007 Guidance

    After reviewing comments received on the consultation version of amendments published in July, the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group has published the final amendments to the December 2007 Guidance, which have been submitted to HM Treasury for Ministerial approval. Comments were received from 12 respondents. Generally, the proposed amendments were supported, but some further minor changes suggested by respondents have been incorporated. In particular, some changes in the content of the material on equivalent jurisdictions in Part III have been made, to reflect the up to date position of the authorities in this area.  More informatio ... 

    JMLSG receives HM Treasury Approval for Amendments to Parts I and II of its Guidance

    HM Treasury have approved the amendments made to Parts I and II of the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group’s 2011 guidance. More information ... 

    FATF Jurisdictions of Concern

    The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has issued an updated list of jurisdictions of concern for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing purposes.

    Sanctions Information Changes Location

    The location of UK Financial Sanctions information has now changed and is no longer on HM Treasury’s website (it has now moved to .gov.uk). Information on the latest jurisdictions affected by United Nations, European Union and UK sanctions is available on the gov.uk website

    Information on high risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions and equivalence can still be sourced on the website of the Financial Action Task Force.

    European Commission Publishes Proposals for Fourth Money Laundering Directive

    The European Commission has published proposals for the Fourth Money Laundering Directive. The key areas where changes have been proposed include:

    • For high value dealers (HVDs) the registration limit is to be reduced to €7,500 and the scope widened to include other gambling entities and not solely casinos as is the case at present
    • A further expansion in the scope of HVDs to include letting agents as well as estate agents
    • Changes to the definition of beneficial ownership and the requirement that member states obligate companies/trusts to hold details of beneficial ownership and make it available to supervised businesses. In addition, every company, legal entity and trust will be required to hold adequate, accurate and up-to-date information about their beneficial owners
    • Who is subject to enhanced due diligence or simplified due diligence is to be based on risk assessments of member states (previous risk factors are included as annexes to the directive)
    • An extension of the politically exposed persons (PEPs) definition to include domestic PEPs, although enhanced verification required on a risk based approach. In addition, enhanced due diligence for politically exposed persons (PEPs) is extended to those who are beneficial owners, those holding high level political positions in the UK, and PEPs who have left office in the last 18 months
    • Article 57 of the regulations states that member states shall publish details of sanctions imposed against those found to have breached the Regulations. This may be done anonymously if the publication of said details would cause disproportionate damage to the parties involved.

     

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