A little while ago I had a moan (I know – hard to believe) about HMRC failing to publish information about its AML activities. But it turns out that the fault is partly mine: I am just not looking hard enough. Put on your deerstalker and follow me…
As part of my visceral need to know EVERYTHING that anyone is ever thinking about AML, I have set up a search on the website TheyWorkForYou – I have recommended this before. Most of the alerts are fairly pedestrian, with some MP or other late to the party commenting in outrage that money laundering is a Bad Thing. But on 17 May 2018 Mel Stride (Paymaster General – probably one of the best job titles in the country) was providing a written answer to a question about HMRC’s AML endeavours, and he mentioned this: “The action HMRC takes to discharge those [AML] supervisory responsibilities and its wider role in tackling financial crime, including support to government initiatives on targeting illicit finances, are described in a recent publication ‘Report on Tackling Financial Crime in the Supervised Sectors 2015-2017’.” Eh? I’d never even heard of this report, despite it being – as they say across the pond – right in my ballpark.
Over I clicked with alacrity, as you may wish to do as well – here it is. And as I feverishly read, I came across all sorts of goodies, including a reference to this excellent story about a London couple who ran a money laundering business under the guise of three bureaux de change in central London and were subsequently stripped of assets worth more than a million pounds by HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service.
So why did I have to dig so hard to find this story? Why is HMRC not shouting its triumphs from the spectacular rooftop of 100 Parliament Street? Or at least sending them out as press releases to those of us who – sadly – subscribe to their alerts?