Arrested for Money Laundering?
Money laundering is a topic of increasing concern to all solicitors, accountants, tax advisers and other professionals, due to the implications of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2003.
It is increasingly common for investigative bodies to consider charging money laundering offences alongside or even instead of substantive offences.
In recent years, it has become more common for investigating bodies to charge the Partner of the main target of their investigation with money laundering, where the Partner is accused of having a lifestyle which it is alleged that they must have known was financed by the proceeds of crime.
What is Money Laundering?
The principal money laundering offences involve the concealment, disguise, conversion, transfer or removal of criminal property, or becoming involved in the arrangement of money laundering, or acquiring, using or possessing criminal property.
This is punishable up to a maximum of 14 years imprisonment. The size of the maximum sentence for money laundering is indicative of the importance that the Government puts on depriving criminals of criminal property.
What is Criminal Property?
Criminal property is defined in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 as anything, which represents a benefit from criminal conduct, where the alleged offender knows or suspects that this is the case.
Secondary Money Laundering Offences
Secondary money laundering offences largely fall into two areas, firstly a failure to report a suspicious transaction to SOCA and secondly what is referred to as tipping off.
Failure to Report
All professionals that operate in the regulated sector are obliged to disclose information about a transaction that they know, suspect or ought reasonably have known or suspected, involves money laundering.
A failure to comply with this is now a criminal offence and is punishable up to a maximum of five years imprisonment. The primary defence to this offence is that the information came in privileged circumstances. A further defence is if the employee has not been provided with sufficient money laundering training, which is a regulatory offence for the employer.
Tipping Off Is Now An Offence
The tipping off offence applies if the alleged offender knows or suspects that a money laundering disclosure has been made internally or externally, and informs a third party of this, when the provision of this information is likely to prejudice any investigation.
How Can Mackesys Solicitors Help You?
* If you are being investigated for money laundering or have already been charged with a money laundering offence, then you will require specialist legal assistance and should contact us immediately;
* Advice can be provided on whether a report should be submitted to SOCA in given circumstances and what information such a report should contain;
* We have solicitors with expertise in defending money laundering allegations.
If you require any further information in relation to money laundering issues, then please contact us.