A suitable case for treatment: money laundering and knowledge

Publication Date04 May 2012
AuthorKenneth Murray
SubjectAccounting & finance
A suitable case for treatment:
money laundering and knowledge
Kenneth Murray
Department of Forensic Accountancy,
Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, Livingstone, UK
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to consider recent UK case law on money laundering and
consider how the concept of “predicate offence” continues to have a restricting influence on the scope
of the relevant legislation. The paper aims to consider recent experience both in the UK and abroad
and that notions of what money laundering is and how it can be prosecuted need to quickly evolve to
maintain the credibility of the anti-money laundering environment. This requires a move to accepting
that the offence can be proved by reference to the way money is treated that is not dependent on a
specified or predicate offence.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents a review of relevant case law and
commentaries thereon. It assesses of new international approaches and analyses specific UK legal
provisions relating to money laundering and how they can be amended to be more effective in practice.
Findings – Nearly ten years after the advent of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA), a minor but
telling amendment to the definition of “criminal property” would help to remove uncertainty as to
what constitutes criminal property and increase confidence in the use of the POCA money laundering
provisions as an effective weapon against offenders.
Research limitations/implications – The requirement for further legal research and debate is
Practical implications Practicalimplications of the paper are the improvement of the effectiveness,
and encouraging more use of, the POCA money laundering provisions.
Social implications Social implications of the paper are the protection of communities by
improved effectiveness of measures taken against those who profit from crime.
Originality/value – This paper encourages debate on the topic of money laundering and knowledge.
Keywords Money laundering,Irresistible inference, Provingknowledge, Crime, United Kingdom
Paper type Viewpoint
The challenge of any money laundering investigation, where there is a distance
between the crime that rendered the money criminal and the circumstances of its actual
laundering, is proving that the money is criminal. Recent cases on both sides of the
Scotland-England border have emphasised that even in cases where there is no doubt
that the money is criminal, there is the further hurdle of proving the knowledge of the
accused that it was criminal.
In the English case of Rv. Geary[1], the court accepted that the money handed to the
appellant “for safe keeping” was criminal property. Because there was no evidence that
the accused knew at any time this money was criminal, however, the definition of
criminal property given in s 340(3)(b) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) was
not met and the appeal against conviction upheld. The principal import of the Appeal
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
It should be noted that the views expressed in this paper are the views of the author alone and
should not be taken as being those of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency.
Journal of Money Laundering Control
Vol. 15 No. 2, 2012
pp. 188-197
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/13685201211218207

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT