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‘It’s still too easy to launder money in London,’ warns top law enforcer


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https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/its-still-too-easy-to-launder-money-in-london-warns-top-law-enforcer-20200911?link=TD_fnlondon_home.27995a643976ebba&utm_source=fnlondon_home.27995a643976ebba&utm_campaign=circular&utm_medium=FINNEWS

London remains a safe haven for “dirty money” as criminals exploit Britain’s eagerness to attract foreign investment, according to one of the UK’s top law enforcers.

Graeme Biggar, the director-general of the National Crime Agency’s National Economic Crime Centre, told Financial News that it’s still “too easy” for criminals to launder money in London despite the government’s efforts, such as imposing sanctions for illicit financial transactions.

“It [money laundering] is not as easy as it used to be. But it’s still a little too easy to do it.” Biggar said.

The UK government launched the NECC in 2018 to fight economic crime. Members include the Serious Fraud Office, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Home Office and the City of London Police, among others.

Money laundering costs the UK more than £100bn a year, according to the National Crime Agency.

READ London’s finance sector under scrutiny over damning Russia report

“There are a number of financial centres around the world and money laundering happens in all of them. London is one of the biggest financial centres in the world. Unsurprisingly, it happens a lot here,” Biggar said.

“But one of the reasons it is one of the largest financial centres in the world is the approach to regulation that we have had historically,” he added. While a flexible, pro-business approach has helped build the City’s stature, he argued, “in some areas that’s gone too far. We need to draw it back to stop [money laundering] happening.”

In July, London was branded a “laundromat” by a scathing parliamentary report into Russian influence in Britain that claimed the capital is being used to funnel illegal funds.

Responding to the 50-page report, the government said: “The government is clear that tackling illicit finance and driving dirty money and money launderers out of the UK is a priority.”

In its “Economic Crime Plan” launched last year, the government admitted “the abuse” of the UK financial system and corporate structures to launder money has harmed the country’s reputation.

Biggar said: “At the moment it is all too easy to to set up a company and mask who actually owns it. The number of companies being set up is quite clearly well beyond the number of actual companies that could possibly need to exist in the UK. That is well known internationally, and so people do use London to enable their money laundering.

“We are pretty keen to encourage investment generally into the UK. But for those where it is on the basis of crime, we really don’t want that dirty money here,” he added.

READ Record cybersecurity attacks strike ‘particularly vulnerable’ hedge funds

The FCA has cracked down on anti-money laundering failures among banks and other financial institutions.

The markets watchdog fined Commerzbank £38m in June this year for its failure to make the necessary anti-money laundering checks over a five-year period. This was the third-largest fine ever imposed by the FCA over procedural inadequacies in this area.

Last year, Standard Chartered was fined $1.1bn (£842m) by US and UK authorities over allegations of poor money-laundering controls and breaching sanctions against countries including Iran. 

The first half of 2020 saw global anti-money laundering fines handed out by regulators hit $706m compared to 2019’s full-year-total of $444m, according to a report by consultancy Duff & Phelps published in August.

The study found four key areas for repeated offences: customer due diligence, anti-money laundering management, suspicious activity monitoring and compliance monitoring and oversight.

Nick Bayley, head of UK regulatory consulting at Duff & Phelps, said in the report: “Interestingly, looking at the key AML failings that are identified by regulators, we see the same areas being sanctioned again and again. This is consistent for regulators across the globe, and also over the past five years.”

 

 
 
 
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57 minutes ago, shlomo said:

https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/its-still-too-easy-to-launder-money-in-london-warns-top-law-enforcer-20200911?link=TD_fnlondon_home.27995a643976ebba&utm_source=fnlondon_home.27995a643976ebba&utm_campaign=circular&utm_medium=FINNEWS

London remains a safe haven for “dirty money” as criminals exploit Britain’s eagerness to attract foreign investment, according to one of the UK’s top law enforcers.

Graeme Biggar, the director-general of the National Crime Agency’s National Economic Crime Centre, told Financial News that it’s still “too easy” for criminals to launder money in London despite the government’s efforts, such as imposing sanctions for illicit financial transactions.

“It [money laundering] is not as easy as it used to be. But it’s still a little too easy to do it.” Biggar said.

The UK government launched the NECC in 2018 to fight economic crime. Members include the Serious Fraud Office, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Home Office and the City of London Police, among others.

Money laundering costs the UK more than £100bn a year, according to the National Crime Agency.

READ London’s finance sector under scrutiny over damning Russia report

“There are a number of financial centres around the world and money laundering happens in all of them. London is one of the biggest financial centres in the world. Unsurprisingly, it happens a lot here,” Biggar said.

“But one of the reasons it is one of the largest financial centres in the world is the approach to regulation that we have had historically,” he added. While a flexible, pro-business approach has helped build the City’s stature, he argued, “in some areas that’s gone too far. We need to draw it back to stop [money laundering] happening.”

In July, London was branded a “laundromat” by a scathing parliamentary report into Russian influence in Britain that claimed the capital is being used to funnel illegal funds.

Responding to the 50-page report, the government said: “The government is clear that tackling illicit finance and driving dirty money and money launderers out of the UK is a priority.”

In its “Economic Crime Plan” launched last year, the government admitted “the abuse” of the UK financial system and corporate structures to launder money has harmed the country’s reputation.

Biggar said: “At the moment it is all too easy to to set up a company and mask who actually owns it. The number of companies being set up is quite clearly well beyond the number of actual companies that could possibly need to exist in the UK. That is well known internationally, and so people do use London to enable their money laundering.

“We are pretty keen to encourage investment generally into the UK. But for those where it is on the basis of crime, we really don’t want that dirty money here,” he added.

READ Record cybersecurity attacks strike ‘particularly vulnerable’ hedge funds

The FCA has cracked down on anti-money laundering failures among banks and other financial institutions.

The markets watchdog fined Commerzbank £38m in June this year for its failure to make the necessary anti-money laundering checks over a five-year period. This was the third-largest fine ever imposed by the FCA over procedural inadequacies in this area.

Last year, Standard Chartered was fined $1.1bn (£842m) by US and UK authorities over allegations of poor money-laundering controls and breaching sanctions against countries including Iran. 

The first half of 2020 saw global anti-money laundering fines handed out by regulators hit $706m compared to 2019’s full-year-total of $444m, according to a report by consultancy Duff & Phelps published in August.

The study found four key areas for repeated offences: customer due diligence, anti-money laundering management, suspicious activity monitoring and compliance monitoring and oversight.

Nick Bayley, head of UK regulatory consulting at Duff & Phelps, said in the report: “Interestingly, looking at the key AML failings that are identified by regulators, we see the same areas being sanctioned again and again. This is consistent for regulators across the globe, and also over the past five years.”

 

 
 
 

Russian and Chinese money dumped in London is not exactly new news, maybe the news is they are looking a few trade deals and are making a point that it’s a two way street 

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13 minutes ago, satsuma said:

Russian and Chinese money dumped in London is not exactly new news, maybe the news is they are looking a few trade deals and are making a point that it’s a two way street 

Not being a news does not mean the government should not be acting right away in full force to stop this masquerade 

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Just now, Freki said:

Not being a news does not mean the government should not be acting right away in full force to stop this masquerade 

The government all have their snouts in the trough, the pigs won’t vote for Christmas:) 

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It's always been outrageous. 

White collar crime gets jail time in the USA. 

Over here.. Banned from being a director maybe... If really unlucky. 

Doesn't even have to be assets like housing. Create a fund operated in London but legally based in jersey, Bermuda, Malta, etc

Money in.. Small cap assets purchased.. Small cap assets sold at a "profit", money out

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3 hours ago, satsuma said:

Russian and Chinese money dumped in London is not exactly new news, maybe the news is they are looking a few trade deals and are making a point that it’s a two way street 

Or they're looking for a way to tax it to help pay off some of the Chinese Flu nonsense.

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9 hours ago, MarkG said:

Or they're looking for a way to tax it to help pay off some of the Chinese Flu nonsense.

There should be a tax on money coming into the country if people are planning to buy a house, if you want to live here you need to contribute like everyone else. Not a bad idea to ask where it came from also, if not from a legal source it should be seized

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13 hours ago, satsuma said:

Money laundering costs the UK more than £100bn a year, according to the National Crime Agency.

 Why is that?  I though it was profitable for the City to turn a blind eye, putting aside any moral arguments. 

 Bigger problem associated is the wealthiest foreign oligarchs here all have very close links to Russian governments and many of them may still be receiving orders from high places.  These are the new style of KGB thugs but well positioned, influential and motivated to work from within but discreetly and unseen.  Ability to easily shift money around here is central to this power.  

25 minutes ago, nothernsoul said:

The newspaper might as well have a headline "dung beetle eats dung" or "prostitute accepts money for sex". Britain has an economy that relies on being an attractive place for foreign money, being ethical where the money comes from isnt a top priority. 

Next week's headline: "Blade of grass grows on a lawn"

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13 minutes ago, Megadebt said:

 Why is that?  I though it was profitable for the City to turn a blind eye, putting aside any moral arguments. 

 Bigger problem associated is the wealthiest foreign oligarchs here all have very close links to Russian governments and many of them may still be receiving orders from high places.  These are the new style of KGB thugs but well positioned, influential and motivated to work from within but discreetly and unseen.  Ability to easily shift money around here is central to this power.  

 

The evening standard is owned by the KGB

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It depends.

London property ownership needs sorting- bling trusts banned, foriegn ownership heavily taxed.

Banking I.e cash is a different story. Any transfer of internation cash tgat involves $ or a bank with US exposure have brutal restrictions and controls.

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