The Home Secretary, the Governor of the Bank of England and the Chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) jointly hosted the second Serious and Organized Crime Business Breakfast this morning. It was organized to take stock of progress since an inaugural meeting was held in April 2014 to encourage closer cooperation between finance and law enforcement.
Create a hostile environment for criminals
The first breakfast resulted in the establishment of the Financial Sector Forum, which meets three times a year to highlight practical ways to make the UK financial sector a more hostile environment to criminal activity, build international cooperation and help accelerate the recovery of the proceeds of crime and effectively .
A major achievement of the forum is the Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT), a new 12-month pilot project sponsored by the Home Office, the National Crime Agency (NCA), the City of London Police, the British Bankers Association (BBA) and others was developed financial institutions. Its goal is to improve information-sharing arrangements to aid the fight against money laundering and to build on the national leadership of the NCA’s Economic Crime Command in the fight against organized economic and financial crime.
Breakfast delegates, including NCA Director General Keith Bristow and BBA Chairman Anthony Browne, also examined how the relationship between public and private institutions can be developed and further strengthened. Discussions focused on combating terrorist financing and exchanging information on cybercrime.
And the Home Office fulfilled a commitment to the UK Anti-Corruption Plan by launching a call for information to aid its review of the regime through which suspicious activity by financial institutions is reported. Key partners have the opportunity to share their views on how the regime could be improved.
An active partnership with industry
Interior Minister Theresa May said:
The scale and complexity of serious and organized crime, including financial crimes such as money laundering, require more than just a law enforcement response. It requires an active government-industry partnership.
Working with the Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority, law enforcement and banks, the Financial Sector Forum has helped to jointly understand the threat posed by this crime, disrupt the activities of those behind it and protect our institutions from harm it can cause.
Today’s launch of the Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce marks the next stage in that relationship and shows the progress we have made. It also shows real leadership and commitment from the banks.
But we can’t stop there. That is why we are meeting again to discuss how we can step up our efforts and make the UK the most hostile environment for money launderers in the world.
Anthony Browne, Executive Director of the BBA said:
When banks, government and law enforcement agencies work together, we are undoubtedly stronger in our efforts to fight crime. Because of this, we play a leading role in sharing vital information to protect our customers from fraud and to catch clever criminals.
The BBA will ensure this information is shared directly with all banks in the UK through our new financial crime alert service, which will start in April.
Ultimately, this will help us ensure that London has one of the toughest regimes of any financial center in the world.
NCA Director General Keith Bristow said:
This is a collaborative effort in an area where the competences of law enforcement, government and the financial sector overlap.
The only people who benefit from gaps in money laundering education are the criminals who seek to exploit the UK financial system for their own gain at the public’s expense.
None of us want them to be able to do that. We still have a lot to do, but this is a really positive start.
City of London Police Commander Steve Head, the national police coordinator for white collar crime, said:
Serious and organized crime is estimated to cost the UK 24 billion each year, with a significant portion of that money being channeled through our banking system and then back out of our banking system to either be spent or used to fund other criminal activities.
The Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT) was established to improve the exchange of information in our financial sector, as well as with law enforcement agencies and governments. This, in turn, will give us a better understanding of how the banking system is being exploited and allow us to stifle the flow of illicit funds that are the lifeblood of these highly dangerous and destructive criminal corporations and better protect the financial sector, which is good news for us and bad news for those on the wrong side of the law.
The City of London Police is proud to be part of the alliance that founded the JMLIT and is now looking forward to aligning the task force with the Corporation of London and working with partners to advance this work against serious and organized criminal networks .
Sharing information to defeat the money launderers
Organized crime is a significant threat to the national security of the United Kingdom. It costs the UK at least 24 billion each year and it affects our economy and growth. Money laundering is a major factor in organized crime. It risks damaging the integrity and stability of financial markets and institutions, undermining consumer confidence, and jeopardizing the reputation of businesses and the city.
The JMLIT is designed to create an environment in which the financial sector and law enforcement agencies can share and analyze information and intelligence to detect, prevent and eliminate money laundering and wider economic crime threats against the UK. The term is initially 12 months.
Representatives from the financial sector, the NCA and the City of London Police will be working on a single hub to develop an operational understanding of money laundering risks. The banks involved are: Lloyds, Santander, HSBC, Nationwide, Post Office, RBS, Barclays, Citigroup, BNP Paribas and Standard Chartered.
This operational center is supported by a strategic group that focuses on creating a common threat picture of how criminals work. Banks are only allowed to pass on information if this serves to prevent and detect criminal offenses.
Information and findings are processed and disseminated via the BBAs Financial Crime Alerts Service. Other law enforcement agencies and financial institutions