US lists UK among 50 main money laundering countries

On March 21, 2008, the United States government has recently issued a list of countries that need to do more to combat money laundering. The US placed the United Kingdom alongside Colombia, Afghanistan, and Russia.
In accordance with the US Department of State’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) for 2008, the UK is one of more than 50 major money laundering countries. This is mainly due to its position as a leading global financial centre.

The INCSR indicates figures from the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) which reveal that GBP 15 billion of dirty money is laundered in the United Kingdom annually. The report praises Britain’s high street banks for tightening their anti-laundering measures, however, it warns that criminals are increasingly using card fraud, cash-smuggling and bureaux de change in order to process the proceeds of their illegal activities.

Although the UK’s overall anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regime is considered to be comprehensive and sound, the report recommends the UK government to bring in new legislation in order to keep a closer eye on transactions made by politically exposed persons who might use banks for funding foreign regimes.

A spokesman for the UK government said that the UK government takes the issue of money laundering very seriously, and aims to combat it both domestically and internationally.Â

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