Bribery Act & Proceeds of Crime - Written by Barry & Richard on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 21:25 - 1 Comment
UK Suspicious Activity Reports: Some facts & figures
Under the UK money laundering regime a defence is available to those who report suspected money laundering activity if they report it to the authorities. It is this which drives much of the so-called Self Reporting in the UK.
The suspicion which drives a potential report is, broadly speaking, ‘more than fanciful’. In other words low.
In addition to providing a defence the rules UK authorities can also provide consent to perform a transaction or undertake activity which may relate to criminal property.
For example, if there is suspicion (identified through Adequate Procedures) that a contract has been procured as a result of a rogue employee engaging in bribery the corporate (and others involved) may commit money laundering offences by performing the contract. To assist the corporate and those involved, if they report the suspicion then they can apply for consent to perform the contract from the authorities. In the example consent could provide reporters with a defence against money laundering.
Given that the penalty for this offence can be up to 14 years in prison with unlimited fines and other draconian penalties – the reporting and consent regime is a useful element of the UK system.
At the same time law enforcement agencies receive intelligence and have the opportunity to stop criminal activity in its tracks.
What happens in practice
In 2010/2011 a total of 247,601 ‘Suspicious Activity Reports” were made to the UK authorities.
Of these 13,662 requests for consent were received with approximately 84% requests being granted. Of couse this means that just over 16% (2,197) were refused.
The average turnaround time for a consent was 2.5 days (refusals take longer…!).
If you consider that you wish to avail yourself of this arrangement we strongly recommend taking legal advice to ensure that any report is properly made and contains the necessary elements.