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Treasury launch inquiry into economic crime

Monday 09 April 2018

The Treasury Committee has launched a fresh investigation into how the country tackles crimes such as money laundering and terrorist financing, after reports that billions of pounds of criminal proceeds are flowing into British property.

The new inquiry will have two strands: one looking at the anti-money laundering and sanctions regime, and one considering the effects of economic crime on consumers.

The Committee will examine the scale of money laundering, terrorist financing and sanctions in the UK, the current regulatory and legislative landscape, and how individuals, firms and the wider economy have been impacted by these regimes and the implementation of them.

As well as looking at the effectiveness of the Treasury and its associated bodies in supporting and supervising the regimes, the Committee would also welcome evidence on the UK’s role in international efforts to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing.

The Committee will scrutinise the scale and nature of economic crime faced by consumers, the effectiveness of financial institutions in combatting economic crime, and the security of consumer’s data. They will assess the potential for technology and innovation to assist in combatting economic crime, and explore consumer education, responsibility and vulnerability.

Whilst it is unclear how much money is laundered through Britain, the National Crime Agency (NCA), has said that current calculations of £36-£90 billion are “a significant underestimation”.

Commenting on the launch of the inquiry, Rt Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, said: “Given the threats that face the UK, the effectiveness of the regimes that we use to protect our financial system from misuse have never been more important.

“It has been claimed that the UK, particularly the London property market, is becoming a destination of choice to launder the proceeds of overseas crime and corruption – so-called ‘dirty money’. One estimate suggests that up to £4.4 billion worth of UK properties may have been bought with suspicious wealth.

“As part of our inquiry, the Treasury Committee will examine the UK’s role in international efforts to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing and implement sanctions. We will also look at economic crime at the consumer level, including fraud and scams. As online banking and payments have become more prevalent, there are now more opportunities for fraudulent activity.

“The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has estimated that there were 3.2 million fraud incidents for the year ending September 2017. As millions of customers are exposed to the risk of economic crime, we’ll scrutinise the response of the Treasury, its associated bodies and the regulators, and explore the role that consumer education can play.”

NAEA Propertymark will be responding to the inquiry, so if you would like to put your views forward, please submit them to Propertymark's Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer, Tim Douglas. The closing date for the inquiry is Tuesday 8 May 2018.