UK Unveils Plan to Lead Fight Against Economic Crime

Corrupt elites and criminal gangs who abuse our financial system will be identified and stripped of their cash through a new plan to tackle economic crime.

The Economic Crime Plan 2 builds on the foundations of its predecessor with new actions to improve the system-wide response to economic crime through enhanced cooperation between government, law enforcement, supervisory agencies and the private sector.

Our response to economic crime will be bolstered by 475 new highly trained financial crime investigators, spread across intelligence, enforcement and asset recovery at key agencies. This increased capacity will be targeted toward the detection and disruption of money laundering, and the recovery of an additional £1 billion in criminal assets over the next 10 years.

Building on our unprecedented package of sanctions in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, we are now expanding the National Crime Agency's Combatting Kleptocracy Cell to target more corrupt elites and their enablers, while consolidating the effectiveness of UK sanctions.

As criminals seek new ways to launder their profits, we are investing £100 million in cutting edge technology, including data analytics, to equip law enforcement with the tools they need to stay one step ahead. A new multi-agency crypto cell will be established that combines law enforcement and regulators to pool expertise and more effectively identify, seize and store illicit crypto assets.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said:

Economic crime undermines the integrity of our financial system and weakens our national security.

Through robust legislation and a strengthened law enforcement response, we've come a long way in cracking down on dirty money, but this plan helps us go further.

Backed by our partnership with the private sector, we have the resources and expertise we need to identify criminal networks and confiscate the proceeds of their illicit activities.

Cooperation with the private sector is critical to the plan's success, which is why we will develop a new approach to public-private prioritisation, which will maximise our collective intelligence and resource to detect and disrupt economic crime.

The UK's supervisory regime will be strengthened, with increased information sharing between partners, and greater government oversight to ensure effectiveness and compliance with Money Laundering Regulations.

Treasury Lords Minister Baroness Penn said:

Economic crime harms our economy and destroys lives. More funding from government and the new contribution from industry through the new levy will allow us to deliver a step change in our response.

While the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill progresses through Parliament, this multi-stakeholder plan ensures that we can maximise the new powers through strengthened capacity and greater expertise. This will enable us to swiftly and effectively act to identify fake companies and hold criminals to account.

The 3 year plan is backed by £400 million in additional investment to tackle economic crime over the Spending Review Period. This includes £200 million HMG investment and £200 million from the Economic Crime (Anti-Money Laundering) Levy raised from the private sector. This funding will ensure a step-change in our response by supporting the delivery of critical economic crime reforms, including those set out in the Economic Crime Plan. The Plan also commits us to exploring new ways to reinvest suspected illicit funds back into combatting economic crime and supporting victims.

Bob Wigley, Chair of UK Finance said:

Tackling economic crime is a key priority for the banking and finance industry and we welcome the launch of the Second Economic Crime Plan.

Partnerships between the private sector, law enforcement, regulators and government are vitally important. Through this new plan we will continue to work together to ensure our collective system more effectively combats all forms of economic crime.

Graeme Biggar, Director General of the NCA said:

The NCA's National Economic Crime Centre has led the way in bringing together the public and private sectors to ensure systems are in place to tackle high harm financial crime to protect the UK's public, financial structures and reputation.

The reforms detailed in the Economic Crime Plan are crucial to move us to the next level in our fight against the dirty money that fuels serious and organised crime. They will enhance our capabilities to identify illicit finance and drive it out of the UK; targeting corrupt elites, and the money launderers criminal gangs rely on.

Michael Izza, Chief Executive of ICAEW, said:

We are supportive of the measures set out in this plan which will help in the fight against economic crime, and we will continue to invest in robust supervision, education and intelligence-sharing.

A key success of the first Economic Crime Plan was developing the partnership between accountancy and the public sector to crack down on money-laundering.

Tackling economic crime and driving dirty money out of the UK's financial systems will be best achieved by Government working closely with professional body supervisors, and we look forward to collaborating on the actions outlined in the second Economic Crime Plan.

Read the Economic Crime Plan

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