Financial crime team to target dirty money

10 Sep 18

A new centre will lead the fight against economic crime as the government seeks to counter the City of London’s reputation as a haven for illegal money.

The national economic crime centre within the National Crime Agency, whose creation was announced last December as part of Whitehall’s anti-corruption strategy, will open in October.

It is estimated that more than £90bn of criminal money washes through the UK each year, according to the NCA.

NCA deputy director Nigel Kirby said today the economic crime centre would officially start work on 31 October with a staff of 55 and an initial budget of £6m, the FT reported.

He added that there were plans to involve representatives from the private sector, including accounting firms and trade bodies, to help identify illegal behaviour.

The centre will follow the template of the joint money laundering intelligence task force, which was set up in partnership with the financial sector in 2016 to combat high-end crime.

The task force works with a core group of about 15 banks to understand how criminals, corrupt foreign officials and terrorists use the UK’s financial system to launder money and conceal their wealth.

The move follows the government’s review of organisations fighting white-collar crime, with a particular focus on the Serious Fraud Office, which answers to the attorney-general.

The economic crime centre will also be able to direct the SFO to carry out investigations.

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