HM Revenue & Customs
are failing to crack down on money laundering rules which require estate agents
amongst others to implement regulation-compliant anti-money laundering (AML)
policies, controls and procedures.
A report by Francesca
Titus and Kyle Phillips of law firm Fieldfisher says figures show that between
2012-13 and 2017-18 HMRC conducted fewer than 55 investigations for breaches of
the UK’s Money
Laundering Regulations and that fewer than 25 prosecutions were brought.
The authors comment: “It
is hard to believe that only 20 or so of the thousands of businesses supervised
by HMRC have not been fully compliant with all aspects of the MLR.
“This notion is
particularly staggering, as that the National Crime Agency estimates that
tainted funds flowing into the UK
amount to £90bn annually.
“Averaging about four
prosecutions a year sits uneasily with laudatory government press releases commending
a ‘crackdown’ on money laundering, when evidently the problem still exists on a
“Until HMRC’s words are
backed up with meaningful actions, questions will remain about the government’s
competence to tackle money laundering.”
This probably isn’t the
only new piece of legislation that is announced with a fanfare of political
intent but falls by the enforcement wayside of course. Politicians rarely realise
that enforcing a law takes a lot more effort and resource than announcing it.