Publication Date04 Jul 2016
AuthorBarry Rider
SubjectAccounting & Finance,Financial risk/company failure,Financial crime
A bold step – but not quite where no man has gone before!
Given the signicance of the UK Government’s proposals to combat economic crime in its new
Action Plan, the Editorial Board has decided to publish the General Editor’s comments in both
the Journal of Financial Crime and the Journal of Money Laundering Control.
Even Theresa May’s political detractors have recognised that in many areas of the Home
Ofce’s responsibility, she has been prepared to accept that strategies that have been
developed and cherished for many years are in need of both re-assessment and often
quite fundamental changes. She has been especially focussed on the threats presented
by organised crime and terrorism. For example, she has been prepared to accept that
organised crime has established a serious and relatively “comfortable grip” in the UK.
She has been critical of both the failure of politicians to recognise, let alone accept this
threat. She has been prepared to legislate – creating a new crime of being associated with
organised crime – and she has also been focussed on the need to give conscation orders
more bite. She has challenged those who remain suspicious of any additional powers
given to the police and intelligence services in regards to communications and data
surveillance. She has also been willing to stand up against some of the seemingly cosy
relationships and structures in policing. Her announcement in April 2016 of a
fundamental re-appraisal of the way in which the law deals with criminal property and
terrorist nance is both timely and well conceived.
There has been concern, not least expressed in the pages of this journal over many
years, as to the apparent lack of effectiveness of the anti-money laundering and proceeds
of crime regime. The amounts of money that are actually permanently taken out of the
criminal pipeline are miniscule, and there have been few successful prosecutions against
professional money launderers. Although the situation is not different in most other
jurisdictions, there is a perception – which is probably near the truth – that the UK has
remained a key international centre for money laundering and the investment of
suspected wealth. Indeed, the Prime Minister on a number of occasions has expressed
his personal concerns, and this was in large measure conrmed by the government’s
rst national risk assessment for money laundering and terrorist nance published in
October 2015. In the case of terrorist-related nance, although the amounts interdicted
have been relatively derisory, the argument that the legal and regulatory regime is
facilitating the effective disruption of terrorist plans is plausible, perhaps, more so than
when a similar claim is made in regards to enterprise crime.
The government’s recently published Action Plan for anti-money laundering and
counter-terrorist nance (Home Ofce and HM treasury, April 2016) represents a very
signicant step in seeking to address at least some of the criticisms that have been made
of the present regime. Of course, it is a consultative document, but there are strong
indications that the government is committed to most, if not all, of its many proposals. It
is recognised that both legally and institutionally, there must be a more robust response
to these threats by law enforcement. The government accepts that this requires
“creating aggressive new legal powers and building new capabilities in our law
enforcement agencies to enable the relentless disruption of criminals and terrorists”.
Second, the government wants to see that our traditional risk-based approach to
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.23 No. 3, 2016
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JFC-05-2016-0031

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