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Tipping Off

By Richard Simms

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It is an offence to “tip off” a client where you have reported them via a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR). It is important not to inform a client where the details of a transaction have been reported to the National Crime Agency (NCA) or where a transaction may have to be delayed for the reason of waiting for consent.

If you decide to end your working relationship with a client, then always ensure that you send them a Letter of Dis-engagement and be careful not to “tip off” if you are terminating the relationship for reasons that you feel it is not appropriate to work for them due to activities that you may suspect they are involved in.  Always ensure that the reason you give cannot be construed as “tipping off”.

Tipping Off

Proceeds of Crime Act: Section 33A Tipping Off: regulated sector

1) A person commits an offence if –
a) the person discloses any matter within subsection (2);
b) the disclosure is likely to prejudice any investigation that might be conducted following the disclosure referred to in that subsection; and
c) the information on which the disclosure is based came to the person in the course of a business in the regulated sector.

2) The matters are that the person or another person has made a disclosure under this Part –
a) to a constable,
b) to an officer of Revenue and Customs,
c) to a nominated officer, or
d) to a member of staff of the National Crime Agency authorised for the purposes of this Part by the Director General of that Agency,
of information that came to that person in the course of a business in the regulated sector.

3) A person commits an offence if –
a) the person discloses that an investigation into allegations that an offence under this Part has been committed is being contemplated or is being carried out;
b) the disclosure is likely to prejudice that investigation; and
c) the information on which the disclosure is based came to the person in the course of a business in the regulated sector.

The penalty for tipping off can be an unlimited fine and or imprisonment of up to 5 years.

Published July 2015