Friday, October 23, 2020

HMRC: Money sender fined record £7.8 million in money laundering crackdown

-

A business that breached money laundering regulations has been hit with a record fine by HMRC.

The fight against money laundering has taken a significant step forward today (4 September 2019), as HM Revenue and Customs announces a record fine against a London business for breaching strict regulations, which could have left them at the mercy of criminals looking to wash dirty cash.

West London money transmitter Touma Foreign Exchange Ltd ignored anti-money laundering regulations and received a £7.8 million penalty. Details of the fine were published on GOV.UK today, as HMRC continues to use its powers to crack down on those that break the rules.

The company was fined by HMRC for a wide range of serious failures under the Money Laundering Regulations. Between June 2017 and September 2018, the business breached rules on:

  • risk assessments and associated record-keeping
  • policies, controls and procedures
  • fundamental customer due diligence measures
  • adequate staff training
- Advertisement -

Mr Hassanien Touma was banned on 20 May 2019 from any management roles at a business governed by anti-money laundering regulations after he acted as an officer for the Money Services Business (MSB). Individuals are required to pass a vetting test to ensure they are fit and proper to carry out the role, and Mr Touma failed to do this.

The fine was announced following a separate HMRC, Metropolitan Police (MPS) and Financial Conduct Authority month-long crackdown on MSBs at risk of being used for money laundering to fund organised crime, such as drug trafficking, violent crime and terrorism.

During the July crackdown, MPS and HMRC officers executed warrants at 12 addresses in West London and seized evidence of money laundering. On 3 July 2019, Metropolitan Police officers arrested 2 men in central London and seized £100,000 cash intended for an MSB.

Related: HMRC: Five people charged over £12m money laundering and VAT fraud

On 12 July 2019, after an investigation by HMRC assisted by the MPS, Shunjian Jiang, a London man, was given a suspended jail sentence for trading as an MSB without being registered for anti-money laundering supervision.

- Advertisement -

The judge ruled that Jiang’s home in Colindale, London, was bought using the proceeds of crime because he was illegally trading as an MSB without being registered with HMRC, and would be subject to confiscation proceedings.

As part of the commitment to educate businesses, HMRC and MPS officers visited 40 MSBs in the Queensway area of London and reminded them of their obligations under the Money Laundering Regulations. Specially designed leaflets were hand-delivered to all 9,000 MSBs across London during July and August to highlight the money laundering risks and need to properly manage these.

HMRC officers also visited 5 MSBs assessed to be at a higher risk of being used for money laundering and is taking civil action against 4 of them for failing to take adequate measures to protect themselves from criminal abuse.

Simon York, Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said:

[su_quote] Money laundering is the lifeblood of the illicit drugs trade, human trafficking and other serious crimes which bring harm and misery to communities across our country. It also supports economic crime which costs the UK billions of pounds every year.

We know that criminals use MSBs to disguise and move dirty money, and we’re determined to thwart them by helping businesses avoid being exploited in this way.

However, a word to the wise for those firms who, either by ignorance or design, continue to flaunt the rules – this record fine shows we mean business, so get your house in order before we come knocking.[/su_quote]

MUST READ

Goldman Sachs agrees $3 billion settlement with US DoJ over 1MDB corruption scandal

Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay nearly $3bn (£2.3bn) in the US to end a probe of its role in Malaysia's 1MDB corruption scandal. The...

Hong Kong fines Goldman Sachs $350 million over 1MDB scandal

Goldman Sachs ignored multiple red flags over the multibillion-dollar fundraisings it arranged for state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, Hong Kong’s financial regulator said on...

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton fires top aide who accused him of bribery

Lacey Mase, one of the top aides who accused Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of crimes including bribery and abuse of office, has been fired, she told The...

Fundraiser Elliott Broidy pleads guilty in foreign agent case linked to 1MDB

Major Republican Party and Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy pleaded guilty Tuesday to acting as an unregistered foreign agent, admitting to accepting millions...

Germany issues international arrest warrant for founders of law firm at the centre of Panama Papers

Germany has issued international arrest warrants for the two founders of the firm at the centre of the tax haven scandal exposed by the...
Advertisement
Advertisement

Latest News

This Week

Billionaire Robert Smith to Pay $140 million after admitting to tax evasion

Billionaire Robert Smith will pay about $140 million and acknowledge wrongdoing to end a four-year U.S. tax investigation involving assets held in offshore tax...

EU takes legal action against Cyprus and Malta over investment for citizenship scheme

The European Union’s executive said on Tuesday it was launching legal action against Cyprus and Malta over their investor citizenship programmes, also known as...

US financial watchdog fines bitcoin mixer operator $60m for money laundering

The founder and operator of some of the first "mixing" services in crypto will have to cough up $60 million to United States regulators,...

Textile suppliers for fashion retailer Boohoo investigated for money laundering and VAT fraud

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is investigating companies that supply the fast-fashion giant Boohoo on suspicion of money laundering and VAT fraud. Britain’s crime-fighting agency...
Advertisement

Adblock Detected!

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our website.

Enable Notifications    Ok No thanks