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Financial Crime & Counter Fraud Compliance

Ensure your compliance programme is fit for purpose.

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Businesses now operate in a world of ever-increasing regulation and risk — so it's critical to ensure that your financial crime and regulatory compliance programme is fit for purpose.

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) defines a compliance programme as “an organisation’s internal systems and procedures for helping to ensure that the organisation — and those working there — comply with legal requirements and internal policies and procedures.”

An investigation into you, your business or your staff by a regulator or law enforcement — whether operating under civil or criminal powers — has the potential to cause huge damage to your business including civil financial penalties, criminal prosecution and significant reputational harm. Having such a programme in place mitigates the risk of your business (or staff) both committing criminal offences and being prosecuted.

Having defended some of the largest criminal fraud cases in the UK, our lawyers are uniquely equipped to identify the relationship between the various UK regimes (and how and why systems fail) and how regulators and law enforcement are likely to respond when things go wrong.

Linked to your financial crime compliance programmes, the development of an anti-fraud or (counter-fraud) culture, prevention and response programme should be a board priority, with emphasis on identifying risk to the business and reducing it. This reduces the risk of liability for the business and board, both criminally and in the civil arena. It also ensures the highest level of corporate governance in order to comply with the legal requirements set out in legislation including the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, Money Laundering Regulations and Bribery Act 2010.

Our team will guide you through the legal complexities of remaining compliant with relevant legislation by providing pragmatic, commercial advice based on years of practical experience.

How we can help

Anti-money laundering:

  • The Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (as amended) and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
  • Suspicious Activity Reports and defences against money laundering (DAMLs)

Bribery & Corruption:

  • Bribery Act 2010 — adequate procedures to prevent bribery.

Tax evasion:

  • Criminal Finances Act 2017 — reasonable prevention procedures to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion.
  • Sanctions and export control, including the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.

Modern Slavery:

  • Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Financial Conduct Authority compliance requirements:

  • Financial Services and Markets Act 2001 and associated regulations.
  • Financial Conduct Authority Handbook.

Counter fraud compliance.

Internal Investigations.

A business owner reviews financial records

Our services

Our services include:
  • Legal ‘health checks’.
  • Policy, procedure and crisis response plans.
  • Risk assessments
  • Managing a breach discovery
  • Corporate transactional due diligence
  • Responses to production orders
  • Reviewing, drafting and implementing policies, procedures and crisis response plans.
  • Risk assessments and remedial advice, including the management of a breach discovery.
  • Corporate transactional due diligence, including customer and enhanced due diligence, as well as ongoing monitoring.
  • Responses to production orders and powers of compulsion exercised by regulators and law enforcement.
  • Advice on reporting obligations:
    • self-reporting fraud and other misconduct, such as reporting to regulators (including the FCA) and law enforcement (including the police).
    • Money laundering reports, including ‘information only’ suspicious activity reports (SARs) and defences against money laundering reports (DAMLs).
  • Developing an anti-financial crime and fraud culture and management capability within the workplace to minimise exposure to crime and malpractice.
  • Developing your fraud response plan and anti-fraud statement.
  • Developing counter-fraud policies including adequate and reasonable procedures to comply with the Bribery Act 2010 and Criminal Finance Act 2017.
  • Developing your whistle-blowing processes.
  • Liaising with law enforcement, banks and third parties where necessary.
  • Advising on employment-related issues.
  • Training for board, directors, senior managers and staff on the full range of corporate governance and financial crime matters, including the identification of internal and external financial crime threats.
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Our experience

Our lawyers have a wide range of experience for all manner of clients. Cases that our lawyers have worked on include:

  • Money laundering reporting officers — advising and assisting in a number of different business sectors and managing the issues that they face on a day-to-day basis, including determining the need to make suspicious activity reports and the steps that need to follow in terms of identifying risk to the business arising from the report.
  • Financial services companies (including venture finance houses) — advising on compliance programmes concerning the Criminal Finances Act 2017 and the procedures required to be implemented to rely on a defence of adequate procedures for failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. Also advising on reporting to the FCA under Principle 11 and FCA Handbook, SUP 15, suspicious activity reports and its anti-money laundering and financial crime compliance processes.
  • Private bank —advising on unexplained wealth orders concerning Russian clients with residential properties in the UK.
  • Online platform — advising as to their status under the Payment Services Regulation and their money laundering status (whether regulated or otherwise).
  • Mobile phone and airtime companies:
    • Advising on potential breaches of terrorism legislation in respect of the use of their networks to facilitate donations by text.
    • Reviewing AML policies and procedures.
    • Advising on the application of the regulated and non-regulated sector in terms of investigation requirements.
  • Accountants:
    • Advising on compliance with a production order served on a firm in relation to clients, including dealing with issues of legal professional privilege (LPP).
    • Compiling HM Revenue & Customs Raid protocols.
  • Solicitor practices — advising compliance professionals in relation to suspicious activity reports (SARs), anti-money laundering issues, compliance with production orders and resisting the production of material following service of production orders.
  • Union officials — advising on legislation that impacts their members.

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