PracticeAccounting FirmsFBI issues laundering alert

FBI issues laundering alert

The FBI has warned UK accountants they must act like police officers when assessing clients, or face prosecution for fraud or money laundering.

Link: Profile: Jim Trimbach, FBI

Speaking at the ICAEW’s sole practitioners conference in London, FBI special agent James Trimbach told delegates that due to UK laws, accountants must be vigilant when assessing a client or the financial practices of a potential client, because they could face criminal charges for any role they play in criminal activity.

‘Currently UK accountants must by law notify the appropriate authorities of any suspected money laundering when the proceeds are derived from drugs or terrorism,’ said Trimbach. ‘This will change to include any kind of crime, and that’s a heck of a responsibility. It’s almost asking you to be like police officers.’

It is estimated there is between $600bn (£385bn) and $1,800bn of laundered money worldwide. It is also becoming more difficult to detect as scams become more sophisticated. In an increasingly borderless world economy, there are literally thousands of ways of doing it, said Trimbach.

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