UK Issues Record Fine for Anti-Money Laundering Regulations Breach

Published: 08 January 2021

Money Laundering MachineU.K. issues record fine for anti-money laundering regulations breach. (Photo: Tumisu, Pixabay, License)

By Zdravko Ljubas

U.K. authorities issued a record £23.8 million (US$31.27 million) fine to a money transfer business for breaching strict regulations aimed at preventing criminals from laundering illicit cash, the U.K. Revenue and Customs (HMRC) department announced Thursday.

The firm, based in the British town of Luton, has breached several anti-money laundering regulations between July 2017 and December 2019, related to “risk assessments and associated record-keeping; policies, controls and procedures; and fundamental customer due diligence measures.”

MT Global defines itself as “an experienced Money Transfer company which is operating since 2003 in England, Europe and Canada… and offers its services through a leading number of banks for remittances in 81 countries of the world.”

It also claims that it allows a beneficiary to receive money from any bank of respective country, and that the company is “committed to provide responsive and quality customer services based on the highest degree of ethical standards.”

Deputy Director of Economic Crime, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, Nick Sharp, however, stressed that “businesses who fail to comply with the money laundering regulations leave themselves, and the U.K. economy, open to attacks by criminals.”

He added that money laundering is not a victimless crime.

“Criminals use laundered cash to fund serious organized crime, from drug importation to child sexual exploitation, human trafficking and even terrorism,” Sharp said.

The U.K. government’s non-ministerial department pointed out that in 2019 and 2020 it completed 2,000 interventions on supervised businesses, issued penalties totalling £9.1 million ($12.37 million) and stopped 89 non-compliant businesses and individuals from trading.

HMRC also said it “recouped over £166 million ($225.68 million) from the proceeds of crime, of which more than £22 million ($29.9 million) was linked to money laundering offences.”