The UK's reputation as a global financial centre might be at risk unless stronger measures are taken...
The UK's reputation as a global financial centre might be at risk unless stronger measures are taken to control the spread of money laundering, Transparency International UK says.
In a report released today, TI(UK) sets forward 18 specific recommendations in a bid to constrain the current flow of corruption through the UK's financial markets.
Addressing the deterrence and detection of money launderers, as well as the expansion of the activities covered by the UK's anti money laundering regime, the report suggests that several steps should be taken to curb the problem.
Both lawyers and accountants should be subject to more rigorous inspections as their past record in reporting suspicious transactions have been poor, TI(UK) says.
TI(UK) also recommends that the government should make sure that non financial institutions such as estate agents, casinos, will be made aware of the new revised European money laundering rules - soon to come into force.
Chairman of TI(UK)'s money laundering working group John Drysdale says the European angle is an especially difficult problem, as most institutions "seem to lack training, awareness as well as understanding" of the new Directive.
Furthermore, trustees and company formation agents, as well as the bureaux-de-change, should be brought within the regulatory scope of the FSA.
Overall, the Government has so far failed to restrain the growing threat of money laundering, Drysdale says.
"Despite laudable efforts to tighten the UK's anti-money laundering regime, too many weaknesses remain and the government must now dedicate adequate resources to ensure that proceeds of crime are not legitimised by the UK's financial system."
In the UK alone, the Home Office estimates that dirty money represents about two percent of gross domestic product or around £18bn.
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