RUSI experts today welcomed the UK government’s new Criminal Finances Bill but urged the government to maintain its commitment to delivering the Anti-Money Laundering Action Plan.
Tom Keatinge, Director of RUSI’s Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies said, ‘this Bill is a crucial next step on the Government’s journey to upgrade the UK’s financial crime-fighting architecture and provide a response that matches the scale of threat. But we cannot rely on legislation alone. Momentum in implementing the AML Action Plan must be maintained, addressing the under-resourcing and effectiveness of the UK Government’s capability.’
Published today, following wide consultation over the past 18 months, the Criminal Finances Bill contains several important legislative initiatives that will allow both public and private sector actors involved in efforts to disrupt money laundering, corruption and terrorist financing to operate more effectively including: transforming the information sharing and disclosure relationship between public and private sectors and significantly improving the capability to recover the proceeds of crime, including international corruption.
Tom Keatinge added: ‘This Bill should be roundly welcomed and addresses some key weakness in the current regime. However several material outstanding deficiencies must be addressed prior to the Financial Action Task Force evaluating the UK next year, in particular staffing of, and investment in, the UK government agencies responsible for tackling financial crime and the continued inefficiencies of the Suspicious Activity Reporting regime. As the Home Affairs Committee emphasised in July, the Government’s financial-investigation skills shortage needs to be addressed and the under-investment in technology is deeply concerning. We cannot rely solely on new legislation, however effective and welcome this may be.’
Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies