Only five people found guilty of money laundering offences in 10 years, finds law firm Howard Kennedy

A Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Justice made by the Business Crime team at Howard Kennedy has revealed that only five people have been found guilty of money laundering offences in the past 10 years.

The Money Laundering Regulations were introduced in 2007, creating over 20 offences in an attempt to fight financial crime. The first conviction under the new regulations was not until 2012, with four further convictions in the following three years. The FOI request also found five more proceedings.

Ian Ryan, Head of Business Crime at Howard Kennedy said:

Partner, Head of Business Crime & Regulatory, Ian Ryan
These findings are surprising, to put it mildly, particularly when we are repeatedly told that London is a haven for money laundering.  It does seem that law enforcement is missing a trick and not using the full resources available to them to fight global financial crime.
Partner, Head of Business Crime & Regulatory, Ian Ryan

The regulations apply to a number sectors, including financial institutions, lawyers, accountants, casino operators and estate agents, requiring them to have in place robust anti-money laundering policies and procedures, including customer due diligence, training and monitoring.

The offences are prosecuted by HMRC and the DPP amongst others and can be committed by a body corporate as well as an individual. Compliance with the regulations is monitored by industry regulators including the FCA and the SRA.

Ian adds:

Partner, Head of Business Crime & Regulatory, Ian Ryan
It is not entirely clear why there have been so few prosecutions, and the figures don’t reveal which industries the offenders came from.

“It may be that some of the offences are just too difficult to prosecute; for example, it is an offence for a regulated person to fail to make make an employee aware of the law relating to money laundering and not to regularly give training in how to recognise and deal with transactions which may relate to money laundering.  One wonders how many estate agents or casino operators manage that on an ongoing basis.

“It may, however, be that everyone is happily compliant and the rumours of London as a money laundering haven are just sound and fury.
Partner, Head of Business Crime & Regulatory, Ian Ryan

Money laundering proceedings and prosecutions – 2007-2015

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Howard Kennedy’s Business Crime team has a dedicated website and blog dedicated to money laundering -



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About Howard Kennedy

Howard Kennedy has 53 partners and numbers 350 people in total and works alongside national and international clients across many disciplines, including banking, corporate and commercial, family, finance, employment, dispute resolution, intellectual property, private client, real estate and tax. Howard Kennedy has particular focus on the Financial Services, Media and Technology, Real Estate, Retail and Leisure, Sports Individuals sectors.


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