Business

UK 'failing to stop corrupt money' entering the country

Pound notes

The UK's "woefully inadequate" money laundering systems are failing to block "corrupt money" and terrorist funds, an anti-corruption body has warned.

Transparency International UK said billions of pounds of "dirty cash" is entering Britain every year.

But a fragmented network of regulators means that only a very small amount is being investigated.

Of 22 supervisory bodies, only one meets best practice for enforcement action, the group found.

Rachel Davies, a senior advocacy manager at the group, said: "Given that the Prime Minister has rightly said that dirty cash is not welcome in the UK, it is appalling that a shambolic system is failing to stop that flow."

She said total fines last year in the seven sectors regulated by HMRC, including estate agents, were £768,000, less than the average house price in central London.

David Cameron promised in July to make it harder for UK properties to be bought with "plundered or laundered cash".

Enforcement

Transparency International urged the government to go further by stripping the various private sector institutions and professional bodies of their anti-money laundering roles, and creating a "super" supervisor instead.

However, others said that rather than a radical overhaul, more funding was needed for existing regulators.

Neill Blundell, a partner at law firm Eversheds, said: "The current anti-money laundering regime has been described as draconian by some observers so the issue here is not about changing laws but properly enforcing the ones we do have."

HMRC said it used a "wide range of tough sanctions" against money laundering offences, including prosecutions and asset seizures.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites