Record fine for business which breached money laundering regulations

A business who ignored money laundering regulations has been fined a record £7.8 million, reports have revealed.

Leading the investigation, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said the Money Services Business (MSB) Touma Foreign Exchange may have enabled criminals to “wash” dirty money.

According to the report, the London-based company was fined for serious failures under the Money Laundering Regulations for breaches taking place between June 2017 and September 2018.

These included failures in carrying out risk assessments and the associated record-keeping, enforcing policies, controls and procedures, fundamental customer due diligence measures and adequate staff training.

Handing down the record fine earlier this year, Simon York, Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said:  “We know that criminals use MSBs to disguise and move dirty money, and we’re determined to thwart them by helping businesses avoid being exploited in this way.

“However, a word to the wise for those firms who, either by ignorance or design, continue to flaunt the rules – this record fine shows we mean business, so get your house in order before we come knocking.”

Company director Mr Hassanien Touma has also been banned from acting for any business governed by anti-money laundering regulations after failing to pass a vetting test to ensure he was fit to carry out the role of an MSB officer.

The investigation forms part of a month-long campaign against money laundering. According to HMRC, investigators executed 12 warrants and visited 40 MSBs in July to remind them of their obligations under the Money Laundering Regulations.

Last year, HMRC recovered more than £41 million using the confiscation, civil recovery and cash forfeiture regimes in the Proceeds of Crime Act.

For advice on money laundering regulations and keeping your business compliant, please get in touch with our expert team.