Ministries to work with private sector to cut money laundering
The home secretary and chancellor are to launch a joint blitz on fraud, bribery, corruption and money laundering.
Sajid Javid and Philip Hammond will chair a new taskforce that will work with the financial sector to tackle economic crime, which is estimated to cost at least £14.4bn a year.
Javid said: “We need to take action on all fronts to target the corrupt fraudsters who are lining their pockets with dirty money and living luxury lifestyles at the expense of law-abiding citizens. The government is already investing millions in the fight against economic crime, but it is crucial we work closely with our financial sector partners to win this battle.
“These criminals threaten the UK’s reputation as a world-leading place to do business and we have a joint responsibility to stop them.”
The chancellor said the UK was leading the world in the fight against illicit finance. Hammond added: “By bringing together specialists across the public and private sector, we can use the best of our expertise to maintain our status as a global financial centre.”
The economic crime strategic board will set priorities, direct resources and scrutinise performance against the threat. Its members also include bank chiefs, other ministers, law enforcement figures and representatives from the legal, accountancy and property sectors.
At the board’s first meeting today, Javid will confirm his department will commit £3.5m in 2019/20 to support work to reform the suspicious activity reports (SARs) regime. The reports are used to flag up potential money laundering, terrorist financing and other suspicious activity to the National Crime Agency. The NCA received a record 463,938 SARs in 2017-18.
Bob Wigley, the chair of UK Finance, said: “Banks spend over £5bn a year fighting economic crime, but the private sector can’t tackle it alone. That’s why the finance industry works closely with law enforcement and government agencies to stop the threat and protect customers. The new board will strengthen these vital partnerships.”