Government launches updated anti-money laundering strategy with a focus on the role of "professional enablers" such as lawyers, accountants and estate agents
On 1 November 2018, Minister for Security and Economic Crime, Ben Wallace, launched the Government's updated Serious and Organised Crime Strategy (originally released in October 2013) (the "Strategy"). To put the revised Strategy into force £48m of funding was promised to tackle economic crime and illicit finance. The National Economic Crime Centre, a specialist unit within the National Crime Agency ("NCA") with officers from the NCA, Serious Fraud Office, HMRC, and police forces, was launched on 5 November 2018 as part of this drive against money laundering and economic crime.
Last month, the Supreme Court of British Columbia awarded a Singapore company, Copytrack, an order that it was entitled to trace Ether tokens which had been issued to an investor by mistake.
The new powers of unexplained wealth orders (UWO) and the supporting “interim freezing orders” commenced on 31 January 2018. Criticism has been made of government authorities' (the NCA, HMRC, the FCA, the SFO and the CPS) seeming reluctance to avail themselves of their newfound investigative tool.
How effective is the Bribery Act? Fieldfisher's submission to the House of Lords select committee is published
Seven years after the Bribery Act 2010 ("Act") came into force a House of Lords select committee (HLSC) has been tasked with examining its effectiveness and impact. Under the Act, as well as the offences of offering or giving and requesting or receiving bribes, the offence of bribing foreign public officials and a strict liability corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery were established. The Act is an extremely wide reaching and stringent piece of legislation. It applies to any business with a UK connection and to all UK citizens, wherever in the world the bribery takes place. The HLSC opened a call for evidence in June and has heard from the Government, anti-corruption NGOs, trade experts and, most recently, the defence, aerospace and construction sectors. As the HLSC is considering the impact of the Act on business and whether the guidance could be improved, using our knowledge obtained from assisting numerous businesses with compliance and issue management, on 26 July 2018 we made written submissions.