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LexisNexis Risk Solutions Warns Against UK ‘Complacency’ in Fight Against Financial Crime

  • London remains the money laundering capital of the world, while UK plc spends increasing amounts on fighting financial crime
  • Senior money laundering experts agree that more needs to be done to improve efficiencies in the UK’s fight against dirty money, new report by LexisNexis Risk Solutions reveals
  • The current regime of sanctions and penalties may well be viewed by criminals as merely the ‘cost of doing business’

LexisNexis Risk Solutions, the global information solutions provider, warns that the UK is at risk of becoming complacent in its fight against money laundering. Whilst significant efforts are being made across the financial and professional services sectors, financial criminals remain one step ahead. Huge investments are being made by business to fight these crimes, but London still represents the money laundering capital of the world.  Collectively, the country needs to do more to detect and prevent it.

This warning from LexisNexis Risk Solutions comes just days after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) published its Mutual Evaluation Report into the current state of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures in the UK. The FATF declared that the UK has a ‘well-developed and robust regime to effectively combat money laundering and terrorist financing.’ As a result, LexisNexis Risk Solutions fears that the UK may believe its current measures are sufficient when it comes to detecting, preventing and deterring financial crime. But the problem is getting worse.

Senior money laundering experts agree; more needs to be done to dissuade criminals from undertaking illicit activities in the UK. The current regime of sanctions and penalties is seen merely as a cost of doing business, and as stated by a senior Economic Crime expert from law enforcement, there is strong desire to see “more criminals in prison and more assets denied and seized from those criminals,” effectively hitting them where it hurts.

The ‘Money Laundering Exposed’ report from LexisNexis Risk Solutions examines the current state of anti-money laundering compliance according to senior money laundering experts across the public and private sectors. The report contains the opinions of a broad range of representatives from some of the UK’s leading banks, from both financial and professional services firms, as well as a senior financial crime director from law enforcement and a former regulator.

Financial crime is a national issue, affecting all regulated industries, the Government, and the average person on the street. However, some aspects of the regulatory framework, such as the regulator’s need for transparency, are preventing the roll out of useful tools, including analytics and artificial intelligence. According to one senior global financial crime executive at a leading UK bank, these tools could represent “a real breakthrough,” in the UK’s fight against money laundering. Separately, she stresses the need to “join the dots across different areas” to adequately fight financial crime.

Michael Harris, Director, Financial Crime Compliance and Regulatory Risk at LexisNexis Risk Solutions comments:

It’s fair to say that the UK has come a long way in strengthening its defences against financial crime in recent years. However, it would be disastrous for us to halt progress now or become complacent in our approach. Financial crime is on the rise – it pernicious, pervasive and present – and the only way to truly combat it is to work together, armed with the latest technologies and the power to hit criminals where it hurts. The UK needs to send a clear message to criminals – that the UK is not a money laundering hub but instead a force to be reckoned with.”

 

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