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A lesson for lawyer’s: SRA crackdown on Money Laundering defence systems

Jonathan Fisher QC has been quoted in a recent article on Complinet regarding the SRA’s crackdown on Money Laundering.

Taking a leaf out of the Financial Conduct Authority’s book, lawyers are being scrutinised by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) as it cracks down on weak anti-money laundering systems in  solicitor’s firms. The spotlight turns to their own controls following the announcement that SRA had concerns over the defence systems law firms had in place to ensure compliance with counter-money laundering rules.

Jonathan was quoted saying, ‘My experience of most solicitors is that they are taking the AML regime very seriously and have been for some time. I'm sure there is work to be done and improvements to be made and I don't want to be complacent but at the same time I would be slow to shout from the rooftops that there are big problems in the sector, aside from a few rogue solicitors.’

The review by the SRA which will make sure solicitors do not become embroiled in any money laundering schemes has been urged by concerns about the quantity and quality of suspicious activity reports filed to the National Crime Agency. This will result in SRA staff visiting some of the largest law firms and anyone found to be responsible for poor AML practices could risk being struck off.

The SRA’s dedicated ‘crack team’ will review the highest impact firms as well as smaller firms to audit their systems and controls to ensure they are all in compliance. The body can impose a range of sanctions on individuals in breach of the money laundering regulations, including letters of rebuke, fines of up to £2,000 and in more serious cases refer the matter to an independent disciplinary tribunal which has unlimited fining powers and the ability to impose bans.

To read the full article on Complinet click here.

Jonathan is ranked as one of the UK’s leading barristers in the areas of proceeds of crime, banking and financial services regulation and is noted by the Legal Directories as having great experience in cases involving money laundering.

Jonathan can be contacted to discuss any of the issues raised in the article at fisher@devchambers.co.uk

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The views expressed in this article represent those of the author and not Bright Line Law.

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