The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants has warned that the body set up to deal with reports of suspicious transactions will be unable to cope, because the new directive on money laundering is too wide-ranging.
The new directive, due to become law in January, will force thousands of accountants, lawyers, estate agents and even croupiers to report any suspicious transactions to the National Criminal Intelligence Service, or risk the possibility of up to five years in jail.
But ACCA said the directive would see the NCIS ‘swamped’ by irrelevant information as accountants and lawyers would report ‘innocuous and trivial transactions’ to escape the penalties for not complying.
John Davie, head of business at ACCA, said: ‘NCIS will receive too much information, become choked and the system will be terminally clogged. Money launderers will have an opportunity.’
The number of suspicious activity reports have quadrupled between 2000 and 2002, rising dramatically after 11 September 2001.