The UK Treasury and Home Office released a report warning of the high risk of exposure to handling corrupt money that the country’s banking, accountancy, and legal services sectors face. It describes how the same factors that make the UK an attractive place for legitimate financial activity because of its political stability, advanced professional services sector, and widely understood language and legal system, also make it an attractive place to launder the proceeds of crime. Though the government is aware of the known professional enablers within the legal sector who facilitate the money laundering, the report acknowledges that the true amount of corrupt money flowing through the UK is an intelligence gap. This is exactly the gap that the Sentry seeks to fill.
The Guardian reported that anti-corruption campaigners, including Transparency International, welcomed this recognition as a positive step forward in creating stronger measures to tackle international corruption and financial crime. Some NGOs, as the report observes, estimate that between £23bn-£57bn is laundered within and through the UK each year. The report also noted that legal professionals should be aware of the risk they face in facilitating money laundering through their skills, services, and products, and of legitimacy they could lend to criminals’ activities.
Click here to read the Guardian article.
(The Sentry, an initiative of the Enough Project, seeks to disrupt and ultimately dismantle the networks of perpetrators, facilitators, and enablers who fund and profit from Africa’s deadliest conflicts.)