UK - The
Government is to set up a new watchdog to close loopholes used by criminals as
part of a wider clampdown on money laundering and terrorist financing.
It plans to launch the Office for Professional
Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) - a new group that will sit
within the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) - by the start of next year. It
comes as the Government moves to introduce new, stricter money laundering regulations
that it said would ensure the UK meets the latest global standards.
The aim is for OPBAS to
iron out the inconsistencies and gaps between the myriad different guidelines
that govern anti-money laundering (AML) efforts and other measures tackling
As well as HMRC, the FCA and the Gambling
Commission, there are a further 22 accountancy and legal trade bodies that
supervise and issue rules to fight money laundering across various sectors.
The Treasury is concerned that the plethora of
guidelines has opened loopholes that are being exploited by criminals, a
problem it hopes to tackle with OPBAS. Ministers have proposed that the new
watchdog will have the power to fine supervisors if the new money laundering
regulations are breached.
The new watchdog will also seek to simplify the
anti-money laundering rules that apply to different industries.
Simon Kirby, Economic Secretary to the Treasury,
said the new regulations and watchdog “will bring the UK’s anti-money
laundering regime into line with the latest international standards, and ensure
consistently high standards of supervision across all sectors, sending a strong
message that money laundering and terrorist financing should not and will not