“While Chatham House is calling for a complete overhaul of the UK’s money laundering regulations and pointing the finger at the National Crime Agency (NCA) and other state bodies, such major change may not be as necessary as is being claimed.
“It may be more a question of ensuring the agencies in question are being emboldened and adequately resourced to bring prosecutions under the existing legislation. One only has to look at the recent Nat West prosecution, which has shown that the NCA has real bite when its resources are used effectively.
“The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 have been used increasingly to recover organised crime’s ill-gotten gains, either post-conviction or through other means like Account Freezing Orders and Unexplained Wealth Orders.
“Also, changes introduced as recently as January last year updated the UK’s anti-money laundering regime to incorporate international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and to transpose the European Union’s 5th Money Laundering Directive.
“There is an argument to be made, therefore, against the calls for a root and branch overhaul of existing legislation.’’
Niall Hearty, Legal Director at Rahman Ravelli