Director Bartfields Forensic Accountants
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The old Bailey

New proceeds of crime legislation is on the way

20th May 2016
Director Bartfields Forensic Accountants
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A new Criminal Finances Bill was one of the bills announced in the Queen’s Speech this week.

The bill has not yet been published but is likely to include amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 provisions relating to confiscation and to the reporting of suspicions of money laundering by banks, accountants, solicitors and others.

In background information on the measure, the Home Office explained that the Criminal Finances Bill will tackle corruption, money-laundering and tax evasion.

It will strengthen the government’s hand to seize more criminal assets with provisions to beef up enforcement powers. It will also set out a new regime to support reporting of suspicious financial activity and improve coordination between the public and private sectors to curb criminal financial behaviour.

The bill will:

  • Introduce a criminal offence for corporations who fail to stop their staff facilitating tax evasion.
  • Improve the operation of the suspicious activity reports regime to encourage better use of public and private sector resources against the highest threats, to target entities that carry out money laundering instead of individual transactions, and to provide the National Crime Agency with new powers.
  • Improve the ability of law enforcement agencies and courts to recover criminal assets more effectively, particularly in cases such as those linked to grand corruption.

My personal view is that there seems to be something of a difference of approach - perhaps even a tug of war - developing between the legislature (parliament & the government) which seems intent on toughening confiscation legislation, and the courts which seem intent on ensuring that the impact on individuals before the courts is proportionate and not unjust.

I shall await sight of the detailed provisions on reforming the requirements for Suspicious Activity Reports to the National Crime Agency with interest.  Not only are the requirements unloved by accountants (who sometimes feel legally obliged to make reports which may be useless or trivial - and from which they see no response by the authorities) but increasingly reports are surfacing of irate bank customers complaining that their accounts have been frozen for no good reason & without explanation.

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Anyone Without A Sense Of Humour Is At The Mercy Of Everyone Else
By WellHeeled
22nd May 2016 10:58

Thank you Mr Winch.
We greatly appreciate your work and contributions to AWeb.

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David Winch
By David Winch
23rd May 2016 07:45

I have now written a longer article in my blog with some initial thoughts on the proposed Bill HERE.


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