HMRC issues record £23.8m fine for money laundering breaches

Today (7 January 2021), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) published the latest list of businesses handed fines for breaching strict regulations aimed at preventing criminals from laundering illicit cash.

The list includes money transfer company MT Global Limited, which has been handed the largest ever fine issued by HMRC, for significant breaches of the regulations between July 2017 and December 2019 relating to:

  • risk assessments and associated record-keeping
  • policies, controls and procedures
  • fundamental customer due diligence measures

Nick Sharp, Deputy Director of Economic Crime, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

Businesses who fail to comply with the money laundering regulations leave themselves, and the UK economy, open to attacks by criminals.

Money laundering is not a victimless crime. Criminals use laundered cash to fund serious organised crime, from drug importation to child sexual exploitation, human trafficking and even terrorism.

We’re here to help businesses protect themselves from those who would prey on their services. That includes taking action against the minority who fail to meet their legal obligations under the regulations as this record fine clearly shows.

HMRC supervises more than 30,000 businesses across the UK, including 1,500 principal money service businesses (MSBs), and helps these firms protect themselves from criminals who seek to launder cash or finance terrorism.

Webinars, guidance and e-learning is available here to help guide and educate businesses on their money laundering responsibilities.

HMRC works closely with partner law enforcement agencies and government departments to reduce the criminal abuse of the sector through tightened registration, greater understanding of the risks, and joint periods of concerted action focussing on those MSBs at greatest risk of being used by organised crime.

In 2019 to 2020 HMRC completed 2,000 interventions on supervised businesses, issued penalties totalling £9.1 million and stopped 89 non-compliant businesses and individuals from trading. It also recouped over £166 million from the proceeds of crime, of which more than £22 million was linked to money laundering offences – sending a very clear message that crime doesn’t pay.

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