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Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:15 pm on 6th December 2017.

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Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State 9:15 pm, 6th December 2017

My Lords, we are coming to the end—this is the last group. The noble Baroness has given a detailed exposition of the reasons behind the proposed amendments. I can say quite clearly that the Government do not agree with her position. She used phrases such as “the Government going it alone”. Throughout the Committee stage—and today with my noble friend—I have articulated the fact that with the FATF we have led the way. These are areas where Britain is ahead of the curve, not behind it. Perhaps I can answer some of her questions directly, and I will also look carefully at her contribution in Hansard.

Schedule 2 provides further detail on the scope of the anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing regulations that can be made under Clause 41. Paragraphs 1 to 17 of this schedule confirm that regulations made under Clause 41 can cover the topics already addressed in the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017.

The noble Baroness quoted a few paragraphs. I will quote a few in return. For example, paragraph 4 confirms that regulations made under Clause 41, which she referred to, can require prescribed persons to take specified actions in relation to customers in prescribed circumstances.

The money laundering regulations 2017 currently give effect to the international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force and EU law, by including provisions of this type which require regulated firms to conduct varying levels of due diligence on their customers on a risk-sensitive basis. Further, and for example, paragraph 7, which I think the noble Baroness also mentioned, confirms that regulations under Clause 41 can confer supervisory functions—and corresponding powers—on supervisory authorities, such as the FCA. Other paragraphs within the schedule similarly clarify or supplement other aspects of regulations under Clause 41. For example, paragraph 18 provides that regulations made under Clause 41 cannot provide for criminal sentences that exceed the statutory maximums already established through the money laundering regulations 2017. Section 7 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 provides for longer prison sentences of up to 14 years; these provisions should be seen in that wider context.

Finally, the noble Baroness mentioned paragraph 20 on a few occasions. This paragraph confirms that regulations made under Clause 41 may make provision corresponding or similar to the money laundering regulations. Sub-paragraph (2) also confirms that regulations made under Clause 41 can be used to amend or revoke the money laundering regulations. Indeed, this is exactly what was done when the money laundering regulations came in to replace the 2007 regulations. This is not something new that has been created.