HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has launched its first criminal investigations under a new money laundering offence, a freedom of information (FOI) request submitted by law firm Greenberg Traurig revealed.
The revenue is investigating a number of cases under the corporate criminal offence of failure to prevent the facilitation of UK tax evasion, which was introduced in the Criminal Finances Act 2017 in an attempt to crackdown on money laundering.
The act was introduced following the 2015 Panama Papers scandal, when the documents of law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked, resulting in a number of probes into companies and individuals across the globe for suspected financial crimes.
Though the offence applies to all corporates, law firms, accountants and banks are particularly at risk. If a firm or organisation is found guilty, it can be punishable by unlimited fines and orders for confiscation of assets.
Furthermore, as it is a strict liability offence, organisations can be found guilty even if they claim the actions were of one rogue employee.
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