Editorial

Author:Barry Rider
Position:Christ College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Pages:222-224
 
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Editorial
A bold step – but not quite where no man has gone before!
(Given the signicance of the UK Government’s proposals to combat economic crime in
its new Action Plan, the Editorial Board has decided to publish the general editor’s
comments in both the Journal of Financial Crime and the Journal of Money Laundering
Control).
Even Theresa May’s political detractors have recognised that in many areas of the
Home Ofce’s responsibility, she has been prepared to accept that strategies that have
been developed and cherished for many years are in need of both re-assessment and
often quite fundamental changes. She has been especially focussed on the threats
presented by organised crime and terrorism. For example, she has been prepared to
accept that organised crime has established a serious and relatively “comfortable grip”
in the UK. She has been critical of both the failure of politicians to recognise, let alone
accept this threat. She has been prepared to legislate – creating a new crime of being
associated with organised crime, and she has also focussed on the need to give
conscation orders more bite. She has challenged those who remain suspicious of
any additional powers given to the police and intelligence services in regard to
communications and data surveillance. She has also been willing to stand up against
some of the seemingly cosy relationships and structures in policing. Her announcement
in April 2016 of a fundamental re-appraisal of the way in which the law deals with
criminal property and terrorist nance, is both timely and well-conceived.
There has been concern, not least expressed in the pages of this journal over many
years, as to the apparent lack of effectiveness of the anti-money laundering and proceeds
of crime regime. The amounts of money that are actually permanently taken out of the
criminal pipeline are miniscule, and there have been few successful prosecutions against
professional money launderers. While the situation is not different in most other
jurisdictions, there is a perception, which is probably near the truth, that the UK has
remained a key international centre for money laundering and the investment of
suspected wealth. Indeed, the Prime Minister, on a number of occasions, has expressed
his personal concerns and this was, in large measures, conrmed by the Government’s
rst National Risk Assessment for Money Laundering and Terrorist Finance published
in October 2015. In the case of terrorist related nance, while the amounts interdicted
have been relatively derisory, the argument that the legal and regulatory regime is
facilitating the effective disruption of terrorist plans is plausible, perhaps more so than
when a similar claim is made in regard to enterprise crime.
The Government’s recently published Action Plan for anti-money laundering and
counter-terrorist nance (Home Ofce and HM treasury, April 2016) represents a very
signicant step in seeking to address at least some of the criticisms that have been made
of the present regime. Of course, it is a consultative document, but there are strong
indications that the Government is committed to most, if not all, of its many proposals.
It is recognised that both legally and institutionally, there must be a more robust
response to these threats by law enforcement. The Government accepts that this
requires “creating aggressive new legal powers and building new capabilities in our law
enforcement agencies to enable the relentless disruption of criminals and terrorists”.
Second, the Government wants to see that our traditional risk-based approach to
JMLC
19,3
222
Journalof Money Laundering
Control
Vol.19 No. 3, 2016
pp.222-224
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
1368-5201
DOI 10.1108/JMLC-05-2016-0019

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