NCA’s key role in UK being judged world-leader in illicit finance fight

7 Decmber 2018

The National Crime Agency is pleased to have played a significant role in the UK being judged world-leading in the fight against illicit finance.

The UK was awarded the excellent rating by the Financial Action Taskforce - the global standard setter for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing – in its Mutual Evaluation Report.

FATF gave the highest rating for the UK’s understanding of the threat, and recognises the high quality of the money laundering and asset denial investigations delivered by the NCA and its partners.

It praises the innovative approaches the NCA takes to maximise its use of financial intelligence including intelligence sharing with the private sector through the Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce.

The agency notes the report’s findings in relation to the UK’s Financial Unit (UKFIU) and will carefully consider FATF’s recommendations.

The NCA has already increased the establishment of the UKFIU by 30% with further increases to take place in the following years.

The UK’s model for the use of financial intelligence, in particular the large-scale availability and use of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), is different to the approach taken in many countries.

The comprehensive reporting sector generates nearly 500,000 SARs that are made accessible to a significant network of end users leading to extensive use of financial intelligence across law enforcement. The agency is pleased the report acknowledges this approach results in significant operational benefits,  but disappointed that it understates the critical central role of the UKFIU. 

Donald Toon, Director of the National Economic Crime Centre said: “This is a good report for the NCA and the UK.

“It shows law enforcement is aggressively pursuing the global fight against illicit finance and the NCA uses the fullest extent of powers to pursue and deny the illicit assets of those that pose the highest harm to the UK.   We are not complacent and there is always more we can do.

“In our new National Economic Crime Centre we, and our law enforcement partners, are working with the regulatory and private sectors to deliver a better, whole system response to economic crime.”

Ian Mynot, Head of the UK’s Financial Intelligence Unit said: “The UKFIU undertakes important analytical work, for example in respect of identifying terrorist financing, and fast time analysis where urgent law enforcement action is required.

“It does not seek to replicate analysis that can be done effectively by others. This is the right approach for the UK. The report recognises the extensive use of SARs across a wide range of law enforcement activities, and the results against money laundering and terrorist financing that SARs contribute to.”

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