Money Laundering

Treasury written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Jim Cousins Jim Cousins Labour, Newcastle upon Tyne Central

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many incidents possibly related to money laundering (a) the Inland Revenue and (b) HM Customs and Excise have reported to the appropriate investigative agencies in each year since 1997; and how many prosecutions resulted from these reports in each year.

Photo of Sarah McCarthy-Fry Sarah McCarthy-Fry Parliamentary Secretary, HM Treasury

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is authorised to investigate money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, as was the former HM Customs and Excise (HMCE). HMRC officers investigate money laundering with their own resources, and will not generally make disclosures to another agency. However where HMRC (and previously HMCE) detect money laundering that is related to offences which are outside the remit of HMRC, for example people trafficking or robbery, it may refer those to another agency that has primacy in the respective area. Since 2001, 47 money laundering cases have been referred to other agencies.

Powers to allow the former Inland Revenue to pass disclosures relating to incidents of suspected money laundering to other investigatory agencies came into force with other provisions of the Anti-terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 on 14 December 2001. Prior to the merger of HMCE and Inland Revenue in April 2005, the Inland Revenue made 16 disclosures to the appropriate agencies.

HMRC, under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, is the supervisory authority regulator of High Value Dealers, Money Service Businesses, Trust or Company Service Providers, and Accountancy Service Providers. In relation to these areas, if HMRC knows or suspects that a person is, or has, engaged in money laundering or terrorist financing, it has an obligation to inform the Serious Organised Crime Agency. HMRC has made 15 referrals to SOCA since the 2007 regulations came into force.

Disclosures to other agencies by HMRC relating to money laundering can be used by other law enforcement agencies in a variety of ways to detect crime and trace the proceeds of criminal activity. For example, such information may contribute to an ongoing investigation, trigger a new investigation or be held on the relevant intelligence database for future cases.

HMRC does not know the outcome of all referrals and given the variety of ways in which information is used, it is not possible to link particular disclosures with particular prosecutions and convictions in the majority of cases.

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