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Welcome to the June AML update
In this edition we provide news and policy updates on the prime minister's Anti-Corruption Summit, the UK anti-money laundering (AML) action plan and related consultations, and EU developments.
We also take a look at the results of the Solicitors Regulation Authority's (SRA) thematic report on AML, the creation of Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), and the implementation of the people with significant control (PSC) register.
We also have our regular Launderers in the news feature.
AML policy adviser Scott Devine provides an update and analysis on developments in the UK and abroad.
The Home Office and HM Treasury have published an action plan for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance.
As part of the action plan, the government is seeking views on potential changes to legislation and have also issued a Call for Information: Anti-Money Laundering Supervisory Regime. Both consultations close on 2 June.
The SRA recently published the findings from their thematic review of AML compliance by solicitors. The report confirms that 'the overall picture is positive' while noting that neither the SRA itself, nor the firms it regulates, can afford to be complacent.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) has released their suspicious activity reports (SARs) reporter booklet which contains a summary of feedback from law enforcement agencies on their use of SARs. The NCA say that the contents of the booklet are aimed at:
The EU has agreed to enter into a pilot project for the automatic exchange of information on ultimate beneficial owners. The European Commission is assisting in putting this agreement into practice.
The commission also plans to present a revised proposal for the fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4MLD), with a view to expanding the measures countering terrorist financing and considering whether to widen the scope of 4MLD to include issues around tax avoidance.
As of 6 April, UK companies must keep a register of people with significant control (PSC) over the company. This applies to all kinds of UK companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs). The register will be open to public inspection and information from the register must be filed with Companies House from 30 June 2016. Failure to comply is a criminal offence.
The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has been created to help UK businesses comply with financial sanctions and was officially opened on 31 March. HM Treasury said:
'OFSI will provide a high-quality service to the private sector, working closely with law enforcement to help ensure that financial sanctions are properly understood, implemented and enforced.'
The Sentencing Council for England and Wales has issued an update to the money laundering guideline to correct a technical error. The error related to the sentence starting point in the sentencing table for offences of medium culpability involving sums of £2million to £10 million. It is only the starting point that has needed amending - the category range remains unchanged.
Read our regular roundup of those hitting the headlines for money laundering in the last few months.
Accuity, an endorsed partner of the Law Society, is conducting research into the challenges of AML for law firms.
It only takes five minutes to complete this survey and, if completed before 15 June, you will receive a preview copy of the industry report
The Law Society's Money Laundering Task Force has drafted guidelines for UK solicitors on how to complete a consent request. The guidance is a result of discussions held between the Law Society and the National Crime Agency (NCA) regarding common reporting errors and the complexity of NCA guidance in this area.
Events and training
Last year's sell-out attendance is testament that the Law Society's Financial Crime and AML Conference is an event not to be missed. This year's conference will be held in London on Wednesday 30 November.
The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL. Tel: 020 7242 1222
Events and training
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