The National Crime Agency announced last week that it has secured three Unexplained Wealth Orders as part of its investigation into London property linked to “a politically exposed person believed to be involved in serious crime.” We are told that the UWOs are for three residential properties in prime locations – originally bought for more than £80m and held by offshore companies.
The London Wine Fair is taking place this week. Exhibitors have come from around the world, over 14,000 wine buyers will attend and Olympia will be full for three days. Little wonder: wine is a massively popular commodity in this country and the market is incredibly diverse. At the top end of that market sits investment-grade wine. And with wine – as with any investment – there is risk. For most, the risk is simply the investor’s ordinary commercial risk. For a few, however, the risk sits with the wine merchant and is that of being involved in a money laundering scheme.
As the National Crime Agency (“NCA”) releases its 2019 National Strategy Assessment, NCA Director General Lynne Owens is calling for an extra £2.7 billion in law enforcement funding to combat serious and organised crime over the next three years. With 4,542 active UK-based organised crime groups and 181,000 UK people involved in serious and organised crime, law enforcement agencies are starting to creak under the strain. In this blog, we review the National Strategy Assessment’s analysis of current trends in financial offending and we look at the authorities’ response within their current funding arrangements. Against that background, we consider the argument for greater investment in law enforcement capacity.
During the Treasury’s recent consultation on Anti Money Laundering, it was noted that the Draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill is an example of the leading role being taken by the UK in respect of improving transparency in the property market.
The FCA’s annual Business Plan sets out its main areas of focus for 2019/20. As well as being a look to the year ahead, the Business Plan reflects areas of focus of FCA enforcement action over the past year. This blog discusses four such priority areas and examples of recent enforcement action taken by the FCA in relation to: culture and governance; operational resilience; financial crime and money laundering; and the treatment of customers.
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