PracticeAccounting FirmsAccountants win reprieve from laundering plans

Accountants win reprieve from laundering plans

Accountants across the UK have gained vital breathing space from the introduction of laws requiring them to file reports on suspicious financial transactions or face a potential jail sentence.

Link: FSA abandons laundering checking plans

The revised money laundering regulations were not finalised in time to be put to parliament before it rose for its summer recess, and are now unlikely to come into force until next year.

The delay comes at a time when tough new money laundering rules have been introduced by the Financial Action Task Force to counter dirty money, sparking protests in blacklisted countries including the Philippines, where there are fears that tighter scrutiny of all offshore transactions could delay money sent home from overseas workers.

The government had originally hoped to have the new regulations approved in June to bring UK laws into line with the second European Union money laundering directive.

However, complications with its implementation meant that the Treasury was still working on a final draft when parliament rose for the summer last Thursday.

‘We will continue to work on the regulations to ensure they are right for all parties and hopefully have them ready for when parliament reopens,’ said a Treasury spokesman.

Under the new money laundering regulations, accountants will be required to file suspicious activity reports on any transactions, no matter how small, by clients that they suspect could be illegal.

Failing to do so in a case where a crime is proved could result in a sentence for the accountant. Negligence will no longer be accepted as an excuse, unless there is evidence that sufficient training had not been provided.

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