Accountancy institutes this week hit back at allegations that students are being funded by organised crime to train as accountants so they can help launder money.
NCIS, the national criminal intelligence service, made the allegations in its 2001 UK threat assessment report.
In it, the service said: ‘A number (of accountants)… have been funded through professional training by organised criminal gangs intent on using their skills.’
But the ICAEW dismissed the accusations. ‘These comments are made without any corroborating evidence,’ said a spokesman. ‘It is worrying to us because it undermines confidence in the profession.’
A spokesman for NCIS said: ‘We included it as indicative of the importance organised criminal gangs attach to this form of expertise. We are not saying it’s a major threat but it does occur.’
ACCA was equally dismissive of the charge. A spokesman said: ‘If anybody wants to become a fully-qualified member of ACCA, then their training records and the people who are training them are subject to scrutiny and inspection.’
The spokesman added the problem would be more of an issue with unqualified, and therefore unregulated, accountants.
Peter Wyman, deputy president of the ICAEW, echoed these concerns. ‘There is no reason to believe we are talking about qualified accountants here,’ he said. ‘To qualify as a chartered accountant you need to work in an approved training organisation.’
For more on money laundering, see page 4 Read the NCIS report at www.ncis.gov.uk/threat_assessment.html
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