Slower, lower, weaker

Well, you knew it had to come: an Olympic-themed post.  I have yet to attend the hallowed event myself (Graeco-Roman wrestling on Monday – I know you’re green with envy) but I have been following with interest a little-reported side of the Games: the warnings put out to businesses about how to adjust their risk-based approach during these weeks of frenzied sporting endeavour.  HM Revenue & Customs, for instance, are the supervisory body under the UK’s Money Laundering Regulations for Money Service Businesses, High Value Dealers, and Trust or Company Service Providers and Accountancy Service Providers not supervised by someone else.  And HMRC has put out some handy guidance for such businesses on handling the predicted influx of business from foreign visitors during the Games and on spotting dodgy transactions, warning – almost certainly correctly – that “criminals may use the increase in legitimate business generated by the Games as a cover for laundering criminal funds”.

In a briefing published in April, the Law Society of England and Wales warned of the increased danger of fraud: “With so many people visiting London for the Games, all competing for reduced resources, and with many visitors being unfamiliar with their surroundings and legal requirements in the UK, many individuals could find themselves more vulnerable to fraud.”  Law firms were advised to watch out for cloning of their websites, an increased use of fraudulent passports, many more PEPs visiting our shores, and people answering the (very good due diligence) question “Why use our firm?” with “Well I was just in the country for the Olympics and while I was here thought I would …”.

And just in case it does all go for a Fosbury Flop, the Serious Organised Crime Agency – which has been warning about Olympic threats for quite some time – has released a specific Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) code: if your SAR relates to the London Olympics in any way, you should make sure that it features the code XXLO2012XX, so that it can be dealt with by the right people.  And no, that’s not James Bond and the corgis.

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4 Responses to Slower, lower, weaker

  1. Roy McCarthy says:

    Well done for wrestling with this matter. We’re merrily sailing along while the ML cycle gathers pace. If we don’t go on the attack someone will be for the high jump.

  2. Graham Thomas says:

    I’ve been waiting for your first Olympic themed post but it seems to have been one post too far for the site as it’s loading in a slightly odd format on my PC this morning ??

    I’m sure various businesses would have appreciated the HMRC guidance to deal with the expected increase in business although, if press reports from the last couple of days are anything to go by, the reverse has been true so far with retail business levels dropping. Unhappy times for those concerned but at least there’s actually less cover for any criminal activity !!

    Best wishes and good luck to Team GB for the rest of the games.


  3. Dear Graham
    I can’t find anything wrong with the formatting at this end – perhaps your PC has decided it needs a summer recess?
    And you’re right about London business being slower than expected – I was listening to Radio 4 this morning and they were interviewing a couple of Dutch families who are camping near the Olympic Park – they eat in their tent and go to events, and do not set foot in the rest of London, having been warned that London would be just too busy to move in during the Games!
    Best wishes from Susan
    PS I thought the same as you with the SOCA code – it looks just like a piece of text-speak that I am too ancient to decipher!

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