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Accountants in Practice

When must you make a report to the NCA?

By AMLCC

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Reports made by accountants to the National Crime Agency (NCA) last year was just 4,930, down 9% from the previous year. This contrasts with the total number of reports made by all sectors, which rose by 10% to 354,186. We also noted the NCA had concluded there was no clear reason why the number of reports from accountants continued to fall. It seems that not everything which should be reported actually is.

It is worth reiterating what ‘money laundering’ is and when we must make a report:

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 states that someone is engaged in Money Laundering if they:

  • Ø conceal, disguise, convert, transfer or remove (from the United Kingdom) criminal property; 
  • Ø enter into or become concerned in an arrangement which they know or suspects facilitates (by whatever means) the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person; or
  • Ø acquire, use or have procession of criminal property 

and they know or suspect that the property in question constitutes or represents a benefit from criminal conduct. Or, to put it more succinctly, a money laundering offence occurs where there is a crime, with proceeds of crime. Generally, ‘innocent mistakes’ do not represent a crime and therefore are not money laundering.

In terms of reporting, all individuals working for the firm have a personal legal responsibility to report any knowledge or suspicion of Money Laundering as soon as practical. An employees’ duty ends when the report has been made to the MLRO and a receipt has been received. The MLRO must assess the information received and if necessary make a report to NCA.

It is of course possible that you will identify a major crime constituting hundreds of thousands of pounds of criminal proceeds. However, you should remember that many more ‘minor’ offences also constitute money laundering and must be reported.

Published May 2015