Firms conducting business in the regulated sector under The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLR 2017) should by now have largely completed their risk assessments under Regulation 18 and implemented their policies, controls and procedures under Regulation 19 to 21.  They also need to consider their independent audit ‘where appropriate’, and how this may be implemented.

Firms also need to have reviewed their practices and implemented reasonable procedures for the purposes of the defence to the offences of failure to prevent tax evasion in the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

The National Crime Agency has updated its SARs Online User Guidance.

The European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on the Commission’s proposal to further strengthen EU rules on AML and counter terrorist financing by amending the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive – the so-called Fifth Directive.  New EU-wide penalties for money laundering are being proposed.

The first ever EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions was agreed on 5 December 2017 by the Finance Ministers of EU Member States; this is the start of a continuing process

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is collecting data over a two-week period which commenced on 22 January 2018 in order to comply with its obligations under the MLR, and this has thrown up some queries reflecting the difference in definitions of ‘manager’ in the MLR and SRA Handbook.

The Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have published the Sourcebook for professional body anti-money laundering supervisors following implementation of The Oversight of Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Supervision Regulations 2017, which makes provision for the FCA’s oversight of the professional bodies which have responsibility for supervising compliance with the MLR.

We have been advising many law firms and property professionals on these issues, including risk assessments and drafting of policies, and Suspicious Activity Reports, and also provide audit services to leading firms.  Links to documents referred to above can be found on our News page

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