BusinessCompany NewsAccountants integral to money laundering fight

Accountants integral to money laundering fight

The director of the Serious Fraud Office has warned accountants, bankers and lawyers of their obligations in the fight to root out money laundering.

Link: ‘Report clients’, NCIS tells accountants

Speaking at the 20th Cambridge Symposium on Economic Crime, Rosalind Wright said the money terrorists and drug traffickers required to finance their activities needed the help of ‘other criminals who have, all to frequently, qualifications as lawyers, accountants or bankers’.

But she said the ‘frontline for prevention’ was banks and financial institutions and increasingly lawyers and accountants.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which comes into effect at the end of the year, it will be considered an offence when a firm does not report suspicions transactions ‘when there are in fact reasonable grounds for the knowledge or suspicion [of such transactions]’, the SFO director reminded delegates.

Wright called for a ‘sea-change in culture which rejects money laundering and regards it as unacceptable to accept money from dubious sources’.

She pointed to a crackdown on those that aided money laundering, as she warned of ‘carefully targeted prosecutions’. When a solicitor or accountant is being investigated, it could send shock waves through the profession, Wright said.

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