The UK’s National Crime Agency received a record number of reports flagging potential money laundering, terrorist financing and other suspicious financial activity this year, but only one in three reports relating to money laundering resulted in a criminal investigation.
There were 34,543 reports from institutions requesting a “defence against money laundering” from the agency, which allowed them to handle potentially suspicious property transactions without breaking the law — a 53 per cent increase year on year. About a third of these reports were referred to law enforcement agencies by the NCA. Ian Mynot, head of the UK Financial Intelligence Unit, which is part of the NCA, said as a result of the red flags £131.7m in funds “was denied to criminals”, an increase of 154 per cent on the previous year. This was in large part due to the introduction of new tools in the NCA’s armoury such as account freezing orders.