HMRC issues £3.2 million in money laundering penalties

Business / Sun 11th Jun 2023 at 02:28pm

HUNDREDS of businesses fined a total of £3.2 million for breaching anti-money laundering rules have been named by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The 240 supervised businesses named today were fined between 1 July and 31 December 2022 by HMRC for breaching Money Laundering Regulations aimed at preventing criminals from exploiting illicit cash. 

Certain types of business are required to register with HMRC which is a supervisory body for Money Laundering Regulations.

Xpress Money Services Ltd, based in London, was hit with a large fine of £1.4 million for failing to carry out risk assessments, not having appropriate anti-money laundering controls, and failing to conduct proper due diligence checks.

HMRC’s work with other enforcement agencies and government departments to tackle economic crime and crack down on breaches is working to drive non-compliant firms out of business. This means that the number of money service businesses has fallen by around a third from 1,508 in 2020 to 1,049 in 2023, and the number of money service business agents has reduced from 35,507 to 30,217 in the same period.

Nick Sharp, HMRC’s Deputy Director of Economic Crime, Fraud Investigation Service, said:

“Money laundering is not a victimless crime. We are here to help businesses protect themselves from criminal attacks and will continue to tackle the minority of businesses which do not comply with the Money Laundering Regulations.

“Serious and organised crime costs the UK billions of pounds every year and our anti-money laundering supervision is a vital tool in combatting that.”

In addition to the named businesses, another 179 companies received smaller fines totalling more than £200,000 for rule breaches.

Money service businesses provide vital services to the community, offering currency exchange, money transmission and cheque cashing. However, they can be exploited by criminals to launder the proceeds of crime, so must have a robust risk assessment and policies, controls, and procedures to prevent this.

HMRC supervises tens of thousands of businesses across the UK under Money Laundering Regulations, and helps these firms protect themselves from criminals who seek to launder cash or finance terrorism.

Guidance for money service businesses on anti-money laundering rules is available on GOV.UK.

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