UK money laundering fines fall from record high in 2015/16

The number of UK professionals fined for money laundering fell by 20 per cent last year after seeing record high figures in 2015/16.

According to data from a report published by HM Treasury, the number of professionals, including accountants and lawyers, fined for money laundering in 2016/17 fell by 20 per cent to 935 after a reported record high figure of 1,170 was announced in 2015/16.

The scale of the UK’s money laundering problem is measured by the report, which said that in 2015 the UK accounted for 40 per cent of the legal and accountancy “red flags” in Europe, with at least £90bn in criminal proceeds is believed to be laundered each year in the UK, according to the National Crime Agency.

“We have seen exceptional levels of suspicious activity reports from the financial, accountancy and legal sectors,” the report said.

The accountancy sector expelled 23 accountants for money laundering breaches in 2016/17, whilst the number of fines levied increased by 150 per cent, rising from 14 to 35.

Fortytwo Data chief executive Julian Dixon commented: “Any professional tempted to help criminals launder their ill-gotten millions could not have escaped the huge amount of publicity levelled at professionals over the last few years.”

Furthermore, anti-corruption group Transparency International published a report in November last year that revealed the UK was “at the heart” of global money laundering and corruption.

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