Lawyers are failing in their duty to combat suspected money laundering and have ignored repeated warnings to increase their reporting of suspicious activity by clients, Britain’s top law enforcement body has said.
Donald Toon, the director of economic and cybercrime at the National Crime Agency (NCA), said the number of reports it had received from lawyers had fallen by 10% this year, despite of a host of recent scandals that have led to London being described as the money-laundering capital of the world.
Toon questioned whether lawyers were taking their obligations seriously enough, given that failure to report suspected money laundering and terrorist financing is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years in prison.
“We believe that we do not get the level of reporting from legal firms of suspicious activity that we would expect,” Toon said. “We have said it a number of times and there has been