Money laundering in the UK is defined as the handling or involvement with any proceeds (money and/or assets) of any crime. Laundering is the process by which criminals disguise the original ownership of the proceeds of their criminal activity by making the proceeds appear to have come from a legitimate source.
Which Acts and Regulations cover money laundering in the UK?
Money laundering in the UK is covered in the main by four Acts and any subsequent amendments:
- the Terrorism Act 2000
- the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001
- the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
- the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
The primary UK anti money laundering regulations are found in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
What if the proceeds have been directed through a legitimate channel (such as a business)?
The regulations cover situations where the proceeds of crime have been disguised to appear to be of legitimate origin. The money laundering regulations require all FSA authorised firms to put in place appropriate policies and procedures to prevent and detect money laundering.
How do UK money laundering regulations differ from the rest of the world?
Unlike the USA and much of Europe, UK money laundering offences:
- are not limited to the proceeds of serious crimes,
- do not have any set (monetary) limits,
- do not have to be part of any specific or intentional money laundering scheme,
- can involve assets of any description.
Consequently any person in the UK who commits a crime from which they benefit, in the form of money or an asset of any description, will also have commited a money laundering offence under UK law.