Finland and Sweden report on fourth anti-money laundering directive (2015/849) impact

The implementation of the fourth anti-money laundering directive (2015/849) is one of the common themes this year, and how it impacts each bar. Both Finland and Sweden report, for instance, that the proposed sanctions regime of their governments under the national implementing provisions will take away the sanctioning of lawyers in some respects from the bar’s own disciplinary process, and that they have intervened strongly to try to maintain their bar’s independence.

The refugee crisis is another common topic. A number of the bars have been participating in the ‘European Lawyers in Lesvos’ project run by the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and the German Bar Association (DAV). The project’s main aim is to send European lawyers to the island of Lesvos to support Greek lawyers in the provision of legal assistance to migrants requiring international protection.

SRA commend solicitors for adhering to AML

SRA the largest of the legal regulators release its own research commending solicitors for adhering to money laundering regulations.

Paul Philip, chief executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, said that while “law firms are an attractive target for those wishing to launder money, our analysis shows that the vast majority of the firms take their responsibilities seriously and compliance is good”.

However, he added a caveat, saying the report was “just a snapshot and the challenges are evolving, so there is no room for complacency”.


Offence of failure to prevent bribery under the Bribery Act

The proposal by the Government for new legislation and offence of failure to prevent.

“The introduction of an offence of failure to prevent bribery under the Bribery Act led to a significant shift in the way that businesses approached anti-bribery and corruption and it would be expected that the introduction of a broader offence of failure to prevent corporate crime, such as fraud, would have a similarly beneficial effect.”

John Whittaker, a partner at Clyde & Co, a City firm, predicted that the prospect of corporate liability “will prove a major incentive in implementing strong anti-money laundering procedures”.

He added: “The cost of those procedures will be borne by commerce and the outcome will be that many companies will need to spend significant funds in preventative measures even where perfectly legitimate funds are not linked to any criminal activity.”

There was also concern at the government’s proposal to remove the existing suspicious activity report consent regime. Mr Whittaker described the scheme as a “source of comfort to many companies seeking to conduct legitimate business in difficult conditions”