Money laundering legislation and regulation is becoming ever more complex and onerous. There have been significant developments in this area of law since the initial regime introduced by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 ('POCA'). Stringent compliance obligations are now imposed on most businesses to ensure proper due diligence regarding money laundering and terrorist financing. These obligations are policed by an ever increasing network of criminal and civil penalties. The powers of criminal courts and investigative agencies such as the National Crime Agency have also been extended. The legislation is difficult and complicated and can affect every day lives in a way previously unimaginable.
Fortunately, we are able to offer experience in this area which is almost unparalleled – from advice on frozen bank accounts, and contractual claims arising against financial institutions, to representation in the criminal courts over account freezing orders or criminal charges.
Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
Since the inception of POCA, the powers available to agencies of the state in connection with money laundering investigations have increased dramatically. The statutory definition of money laundering is much wider than might be imagined. POCA makes it an offence to deal in any way with property where the individual knows, believes or suspects that it represents the proceeds of criminal activity.
POCA also places positive obligations on the regulated sector to disclose the existence of suspicious transactions to the National Crime Agency (‘NCA’). These are known as Suspicious Activity Reports (‘SAR’s). In such circumstances, a transaction may be delayed (e.g. a bank account frozen/inhibited) whilst the matter is investigated by NCA. As notifying an individual or corporation of a SAR is an offence in its own right, one can be left in the dark and often without access to funds or redress. This can cause significant inconvenience and/or disruption to individuals and businesses and may call for a robust response. In most instances a SAR will be cleared by the NCA, but in some cases it is the precursor to a criminal investigation or an application for a civil recovery by the NCA. An application for a restraint order or a freezing injunction may promptly follow. Brett Wilson LLP is almost uniquely placed to advise and represent individuals on these matters and the interplay between criminal and civil proceedings.
Our Money Laundering Litigation expertise
At Brett Wilson LLP you can trust us to:
- Give advice to individual and corporate clients regarding money laundering regulations and financial regulatory issues.
- Advise in connection with potential personal liability for money laundering offences.
- Provide representation in connection with investigations conducted by the Serious Fraud Office (‘SFO’), the National Crime Agency (‘NCA’), the Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’), the City of London Police, HM Revenue & Customs and other law enforcement agencies.
- Advise and represent clients in proceedings for money laundering and fraud-related
- Provide advice and representation where an individual or corporate
client believes they have been the subject of a Suspicious Activity Report.
Case Study/Briefing Note
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