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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