EU Update – January 2021
HMRC issues record £24million fine to MSB for anti-money laundering failures.
Whilst this may not be significant when compared with fines issued by the likes of the FCA and FinCEN, this fine demonstrates the power that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has to issue penalties to firms falling under their supervision for failing to comply with Money Laundering (ML) regulations.
MT Global Limited has been handed the largest ever fine issued by HMRC for significant breaches of the Money Laundering regulations between July 2017 and December 2019 for failures to carry out risk assessments and associated record-keeping, have policies, controls and procedures in place and to conduct fundamental customer due diligence.
UK Estate agents under increase pressure as supervisor starts issuing fines.
We have long known that third parties can unwittingly play a role Money Laundering and could play a very important part in protecting against money laundering activities. As of last year Estate agents in the UK need to comply with money laundering regulations and now fall under the supervision of the HMRC. In a report issued by HMRC of businesses that were fined for failures to comply with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulation between 1st February and 30th September 2020, 2 of the firms listed were estate agents. Whilst the fines were not significant in value, they are sending a clear sign to the industry that AML regulation can no longer be avoided or ignored.
On 24th December 2020 the EU/UK agreement was finally signed. Whilst predominantly focused on trade, there is a lengthy section on Policing and Cooperation. Member states benefit from a wealth of shared data from throughout the union which can play a huge part in policing and protecting the EU against a multitude of risks and threats.
The UK will continue to have access to a number of these databases, including fingerprints and DNA, but will not have access to vital information shared by other members, including suspected criminals and terrorists, stolen identification, stolen vehicles and boats, as well as many more. But is this in everyone’s best interest?
Whilst clear segregations and new boundaries need to be established for trade, these shared resources are there to protect us, and with the UK being one of the top contributors to this data, surely this puts the UK, the EU and the rest of the world at increased risk. The UK cannot protect its borders whilst losing vital awareness and information on those that pose a risk. In fact, the lack of continued cooperation increases the risk on both sides.
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