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Labor explains crackdown on dirty money in UK

Labor explains crackdown on dirty money in UK

 


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Labor plans to crack down on dirty money in Britain with proposals to punish white-collar workers who encourage theft and offer rewards of up to $250,000 to whistleblowers who uncover sanctions breaches.

Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lamy will set out his party's plan on Tuesday for Britain to lead an international initiative to tackle financial crime, pushing the issue onto the global agenda, starting with a UK-hosted summit.

He will also advocate for the creation of an international anti-corruption court to prosecute the most serious crimes if Labor wins the general election expected later this year.

After nearly 15 years of Conservative-led rule, Britain is a hotbed of corrupt services while London is a hotbed of kleptomania, Lammy said in a keynote address at the Institute for Public Policy Studies in London.

He will vow that a Labor government will introduce a new approach based on action, enforcement and crackdowns on categories covering professionals such as lawyers, accountants and estate agents.

His intervention comes after Tory deputy foreign secretary Andrew Mitchell last week cited estimates that 40% of money laundered globally is routed through London, British overseas territories and royal dependencies.

A 2019 National Crime Agency assessment found that money laundering involving criminals and terrorists was costing the UK more than $100 billion a year and the scale of the problem was damaging to confidence in the UK economy. .

Labor's package of measures includes expanding registration requirements for UK trusts to prevent them being used for illegal activity, while pursuing other ways to increase transparency about trust ownership of UK property. This includes cooperating with overseas territories on a common transparency regime.

The party will also pledge to strengthen the UK's sanctions regime to crack down on white-collar workers who facilitate money laundering, and will consider a new mechanism to ban such people from entering the UK.

Labor will offer whistleblowers up to 25% of fines imposed by the Financial Sanctions Enforcement Agency to incentivize people to provide information that can lead to the discovery of assets of sanctioned individuals and entities in UK jurisdiction. Regulators can impose fines of up to $1 million.

Lammy will say: Warning that the US, Ukraine and allies in Africa and the Caribbean have raised concerns about the UK's approach to corruption and loopholes in its sanctions regime, Lammy will say: Our security partners say that not only will we fail, but Russian kleptomania will become stronger.

Kleptocracy, corruption and money laundering continue to fund crime on Britain's streets and make a mockery of the rule of law, he said.

As part of the party's efforts to ensure that the UK adopts a global leadership role on anti-money laundering, Labor is proposing a new framework for effective information sharing between countries.

This includes establishing a real-time global data exchange on the beneficial ownership of corporate structures, including trusts and trust-like arrangements, to aid cross-border investigations.

Labor officials warned that corruption was weakening Britain's position, although party leader Sir Keir Starmer stressed he would defend the City of London and professional services. Failure to address these threats to our reputation for high standards will put our competitiveness at risk in the long term, one person said.

The Conservative government has introduced two economic crime laws since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but analysts say stronger measures are needed to stem the flow of dirty money through London.

Tom Keatinge, director of Rusi's Center for Finance and Security, said the UK needed to become a more visible political actor on the topic and praised Labor's proposals to lead new international initiatives.

He said Labor was right to treat financial crime as a foreign policy issue. Because other countries see the UK and parts of the professional services industry as part of the problem.

Video: How London Became the Dirty Money Capital of the World

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