Serious and organised crime costs the UK an estimated £24 billion every year. Money laundering not only allows criminals to hide the proceeds of their crimes, but also helps to fund further criminal activity. In its latest report, the Government has set out the threats posed by money laundering and is now re-launching the ‘Flag It Up’ campaign to raise awareness and show how this form of criminality can be stamped out.
Headed by the National Crime Agency, ‘Flag It Up’ is a joint campaign between the Government, the legal and accountancy sectors that aims to raise awareness of the tell-tale signs of money laundering and the risks for firms and professionals of being caught in this form of financial crime.
Elizabeth Baker, head of proceeds of crime at the Serious Fraud Office, has spoken to ‘Flag It Up’ about the tell-tale signs of money laundering and how individuals can help catch criminals trying to commit it through using Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).
Tell-tale signs can include a long-term client who starts making requests that are out of character, a client repeatedly asking for services outside your (or your firm’s) area(s) of expertise and a client requesting arrangements that don’t appear to make commercial sense. Always remember that ignoring any suspicious activity potentially places you and your firm at risk and fuels further crime.