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Security Minister pledges to crack down on illegal cash

Thursday 01 November 2018

Security Minister, Ben Wallace MP, has warned estate agents, solicitors and accountants to prepare for a money laundering crackdown, after pledging to curb criminals’ ability to spend their money on luxury items.

Boosted by a £48 million cash injection and a more intelligence-led approach, Mr Wallace announced plans to launch a new multi-agency national economic crime centre, which will target the most serious offenders, and get tough with the professionals who facilitate it.

In the 12 months between April 2017 and March 2018, just 710 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) were made by estate agents, which makes the profession a prime target in the clampdown.

In an interview with the Guardian, the Minister said the Government needs to go after people who have failed to play their part in hardening the environment and reporting - including the public - and anyone found to be failing to report suspicious activity could face sanctions and ultimately, jail. 

He said: “The ones who pretend their hands aren’t really dirty and profit from moving dirty money and knowingly conspire ... they’re cowards to pretend they’re nothing really to do with it. They are the ultimate. It’s like the McMafia programme, they comfort themselves by being at wonderful events and not getting their hands dirty, but their hands are as dirty as the person trafficking the child that they’re making their money from.

“We’re going to make sure that people who are proactively being facilitators are at the front of our queue as much as the actual nominals of the organised crime groups and we’re going to do everything we can to prosecute them. But it's not just about arresting people, it's also about getting their money off them. Taking the money out of the hands of those criminals and either giving it back to the victims, or reinvesting it back into law and order.”

How we're helping members

For advice about money laundering and how to report suspicious transactions, take a look at our handy AML toolkit - it's full of great resources to help you comply with money laundering regulations.

We also run interactive Workshops, designed to ensure that you are on top of your legal obligations, and offer introductory, intermediate and advanced anti-money laundering courses to aid compliance. Our 30 minute online Anti-Money Laundering course provides an introduction to spotting AML 'red flags' and how to minimise the risk of criminal activity within your agency. Our half-day Anti-Money Laundering course offers a more in-depth look at the legislation, covering financial sanctions, reporting methods and HMRC supervision and our Advanced Anti-Money laundering course will teach you how to identify and deal with a Politically Exposed Person, undertake risk assessments and implement AML policies - in just four hours.

For further help and support, you can also contact HMRC  directly. Please note that if HMRC need to get in touch with you about anything confidential, they will reply by phone or post.