Accountants get ‘clarity’ on anti-money laundering duties

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland has welcomed the changes
to anti-money laundering regulations which give accountants the same protection
as lawyers when reporting suspicious transactions to the National Criminal
Intelligence Service, but warned that this protection was limited.

Dr Tom McMorrow, executive director, regulation and compliance at ICAS told
the Herald: ‘This change provides clarity and is to be welcomed, but it should
be pointed out that it only confers privilege in the limited context of the
Proceeds of Crime Act.’

The amendments were approved by the Privy Council last week and will give
external accountants, auditors and tax advisers the same legal privilege as
lawyers when reporting suspicious transactions to NCIS

Previously, a qualified accountant carrying out the same service as a lawyer
in privileged circumstances, would have to report a suspicion to NCIS, but the
lawyer would not.

Between March 2004 – when the Proceeds of Crime Act and money-laundering
regulations kicked in – and December of that year more than 7,400 suspicious
transactions were reported to NCIS by accountants.

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