Anti Money Laundering

Anti Money Laundering

The government has published its response to the consultation earlier in the year on legislative proposals for anti money-laundering and counter-terrorist finance (the so-called “Action Plan”), along with the Criminal Finances Bill.

One highlight in the response is the SAR’s consent regime. The government is not taking forward proposals on reforming the regime “at this time”. The Law Society’s submission features prominently throughout the government’s response, for example...:

The majority of legal sector respondents viewed [the removal of consent] negatively with one respondent noting that, “[I]t is clear that in order for the removal of the consent regime to be in any way workable, it is either necessary to fundamentally re-shape the principal offences of money laundering or create a new system offering equivalent protection to reporters as is currently afforded by the consent regime”.

In another highlight the government, it seems, is not taking forward plans to designate entities as being ‘of concern’ in AML terms. This could have impacted on solicitors.

The response says that HM Treasury will announce changes to the AML supervisory regime later in the year – however, the Bill does not contain any proposals for change, which is in keeping with previous indications.

It is perhaps worth flagging that the Bill includes several provisions in relation to LPP, for example:

  • An unexplained wealth order does not confer the right to require a person to answer any question, provide any information or produce any document which the person would be entitled to refuse to answer, provide or produce on grounds of legal privilege.
  • A further information order does not confer the right to require a person to provide privileged information.
  • A disclosure order does not confer the right to require a person…:
    • to answer any privileged question,
    • to provide any privileged information, or
    • to produce any privileged document or other material, except that a lawyer may be required to provide the name and address of a client

The Law Society has stated that it is delighted in the outcome of the consultation.