Visitors to this page are seeking a comprehensive understanding of money laundering, its stages, and legal consequences in the UK. They aim to learn about the investigation process, the agencies involved, and potential defences to money laundering allegations. Our experienced money laundering solicitors can provide expert legal advice, representation, and assistance for individuals facing such charges or investigations. With our extensive knowledge of financial and business crime laws, we are well-equipped to address your concerns, explore possible defences, and guide you through the complexities of your case. To get in touch with our team of specialists, please contact us.
Money laundering Solicitors
Money laundering solicitors Birmingham
What is money laundering?
Money laundering is the illicit practice of disguising the origins of substantial sums of money obtained through criminal activities, such as drug trafficking, terrorist financing, or corruption. By funnelling these funds through a series of complex transactions, criminals aim to make the money appear as though it has been derived from legitimate sources, thereby allowing them to evade detection and use the funds without arousing suspicion. This financial manipulation typically involves three stages: placement, layering, and integration, each designed to further conceal the illegal origins of the funds and assimilate them into the legal financial system.
What are the three stages of money laundering?
This is the initial stage where illicit funds enter the financial system, often through cash deposits, currency exchanges, or purchasing assets.
This is the process of separating the funds from their criminal origins through a series of complex transactions, such as wire transfers, shell companies, or offshore accounts.
This is the final stage where the laundered funds are reintroduced into the legitimate economy, typically through investments, property purchases, or business ventures, making them appear as legally obtained assets.
How is money laundered?
Money laundering takes various forms the purpose of which is to disguise the illegal origins of funds and to integrate the funds into the legitimate economy.
Some common forms of money laundering include:
This involves breaking down large amounts of illicit cash into smaller, less conspicuous deposits, which are then deposited into financial institutions or used to purchase monetary instruments such as money orders.
This is where the value, quantity, or quality of goods in international trade transactions is manipulated to transfer illicit funds across borders. This may involve over- or under-invoicing, phantom shipping, or multiple invoicing to obscure the movement of money.
Real estate laundering
Illegal funds are used to purchase real estate properties, which can be resold, rented, or used as collateral for loans. This method converts criminal proceeds into tangible assets, making the money appear to be legally obtained.
These are legal entities without substantial assets or operations. They are usually created to hide the ownership and control of illicit funds. Shell companies can be used to facilitate various money laundering activities, such as transferring funds between accounts or countries, obscuring beneficial ownership, and hiding illegal proceeds.
Shell companies themselves are not illegal and not all shell companies will be used for criminal activity. There are perfectly proper and legal reasons for the existence of shell companies.
The purpose of each form of money laundering is designed to achieve the same goal, which is to allow the disguising of the illegal origins of funds and reintegrating them into the legitimate financial system while evading detection and prosecution.
Money Laundering interview under caution
If it is alleged that you may have committed a money laundering offence, or you are asked to attend an interview under caution in relation to an allegation of money laundering, you should seek immediate legal advice. You may have a defence to the allegation. The mere handling of money which has criminal origins means does not mean that you are guilty of money laundering.
If you would like to speak to an expert money laundering solicitor, call us on +44 121 309 0013, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our contact form. We take on cases nationwide in England and Wales.
Who investigates money laundering in the UK?
National Crime Agency (NCA)
The NCA leads the UK’s efforts to combat serious and organised crime, including money laundering investigations.
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
The FCA is responsible for regulating financial services and ensuring that firms adhere to anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
HMRC investigates money laundering cases related to tax evasion, fraud, and other financial crimes.
Serious Fraud Office (SFO)
The SFO focuses on investigating and prosecuting complex fraud, bribery, and corruption cases, which may involve money laundering.
National Investigation Service (NATIS)
NATIS operates across the country and investigates criminals involved in serious organised crime who target the public sector and its supply chain.
Local police forces
Local police forces may also investigate money laundering cases, particularly when they are linked to other criminal activities within their jurisdiction.
Defences to allegations of money laundering
Lack of knowledge or suspicion
A valid defence can be established if a suspect/defendant can prove that they had no knowledge or suspicion that the funds were derived from criminal activities.
If the suspect/defendant made an authorised disclosure to the relevant authorities, such as the National Crime Agency (NCA), before engaging in any potentially unlawful transactions, they may have a defence.
Demonstrating a reasonable excuse for not making an authorised disclosure or for engaging in the transaction can be considered a defence in certain circumstances.
Legal representation for Money Laundering
We are experienced in defending allegations of money laundering. If you ask us to represent you, we will step in immediately to provide a sound defence. We will work to have charges against you dropped where possible or to secure an early acquittal. Where necessary, we will raise any points there may be in mitigation.
Financial and business crime is a complex area of law and it is important to work with a solicitor who has experience and understanding of both the legal position and the processes involved. We have the expertise to represent you and your business in investigations and against criminal charges.
Can you go to jail for money laundering UK?
Yes, it is a criminal offence.
Money laundering is a criminal offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in the UK.
Conviction for money laundering will result in severe penalties, including imprisonment, fines, and asset confiscation.
Length of sentence
The length of a prison sentence can vary depending on the severity of the crime, with a maximum sentence of up to 14 years for the most serious cases.
Contact our money laundering defence solicitors
If you are accused of money laundering, are being investigated or are required to attend an interview under caution, or are being prosecuted, we can help and ensure that you have the representation you need.