Frances Ball 7 May 2019 12:51pm

HMRC ramps up fines for money laundering failures

Fines imposed by HMRC for failing to comply with anti-money laundering obligations increased by 91% last year

The financial services regulatory consultancy, fscom, says the value of fines imposed on businesses rose to £2.3m last year.

The average size of fine went up from £1,310 in 2016/17 to £3,450 last year.

Recent Home Office figures suggest that as much as £90bn is laundered through the UK every year. HMRC and other regulatory bodies are under mounting pressure to crack down on money laundering, fscom says.

As such, businesses can expect fines to continue to rise.

Jamie Cooke, managing director at fscom, says, “Cracking down on money laundering is at the top of the government’s agenda and HMRC is responding by increasing the value of fines it hits businesses with.”

HMRC made over 1,340 interventions into businesses suspected of money laundering failures in the past year.

John Binns, partner at BCL Solicitors and a specialist in business crime, commented, “This is part of an increasingly hostile environment for those who breach money laundering regulations. It’s to be hoped though that it doesn’t reflect an arbitrary hike in fine levels, but more detection and targeting of the serious breaches.”

A total of 101 individuals have been convicted of money laundering since April 2010, as a result of HMRC investigations.