While money-laundering laws cover all types of crime and not just corruption, rules around the funds of so-called politically exposed persons (PEPs) is one area where the law could be tightened, according to legal experts. PEPs are public officials or relatives who could be more at risk of handling bribes.
Currently, if a suspicious transaction report is filed by a bank to the National Crime Agency, the NCA can freeze the funds for 31 days while it investigates whether funds of a PEP might be the proceeds of crime. Transparency International is calling for an extension to this period.
“Realistically, they really need two-to-three months with cases of suspected international corruption; you need much more time to get information from abroad,” said Jonathan Fisher QC, a barrister who specialises in the area of financial crime. “A dodgy oligarch might think twice about parking his cash in the UK if he knows that there is a real prospect of it getting frozen over three months.”
The EU sets the minimum requirements around anti-money laundering to which member states, including the UK, must conform.
Brussels itself implemented into law guidelines set down by FATF, originally created by the G7 countries. FATF now has 36 member countries, which are predominantly developed economies.
The agency’s forthcoming review of the UK against its target comes at a delicate time, and Britain has been sensitive to criticism from such bodies: it was a damning examination by the OECD over Britain’s poor track-record in pursuing corruption that was the catalyst for the Bribery Act, which overhauled how prosecutors can prosecute corruption, no matter where in the world it happens.
Full article via the Financial Times http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/02a79f18-0ec7-11e5-8aca-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3dnnf9Ka6