Accountants’ skills tapped by criminals

Responding to corruption queries from the International Development select committee, the head of the National Criminal Intelligence Service told MPs that only 49.9% of the UK’s banks had informed the NCIS of suspicious dealings.

Of all the institutions in the financial sector, however, banks have the highest reporting rate to NICS, the Financial Times reported today. In the accounting sector, a mere 0.58% of the nation’s firms had submitted reports. Only 33 of the 840 insurance companies issued reports and 57 of 12,500 for solicitors.

Of the 14,500 reports of suspicious transactions received by the NCIS’s economic crime division in 1999, 78% came from just 10 banks, representing 39% of the total number of disclosures received by the unit, according to NCIS’ annual report.

John Abbott, NCIS director-general told the committee that criminals regularly tapped the skills of lawyers and accountants to launder money.

‘There are a whole host of activities of solicitors and accountants that bring them into contact with the movement of money.

Abbott said the NCIS is set to investigate why a large number of financial organisations were not submitting reports.

Abbott was answering the International Development committee’s questions on the role British financial institutions play in laundering the proceeds of criminal activities in emerging economies.


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