Internet Newsletter for Lawyers
March/April 2004, by Delia Venables

Web Resources for New Money Laundering Regulations
by Michael Kaye

The coming into force of the Money Laundering Regulations 2003 has brought the spotlight of media attention on the new UK anti-money laundering regime. Amazingly, the focus has been on aspects of the law that have been in force for a year or more rather than on the coming into force of the Civil Compliance Regime brought about by the Regulations themselves.

Anti-money laundering law and regulation consists of two distinct elements. The first, contained basically in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, creates various new offences about which much has been written. The second, the Civil Compliance Regime, has received far less publicity but is likely to have a far greater effect on the day to day running of the office and business of those within the widened regulated sector than almost any other piece of legislation of which one can think.

The Treasury announced last year that it would lay its new regulations in June 2003 and then give those affected three months in which to implement its requirements. The June publication date was postponed twice and it was not until 28 November that the regulations were finally laid bringing themselves into force on 1 March, i.e. three months later just as promised. The catch however was that while they were laid on 28 November they were not published until the first week in January allowing at best nine weeks for businesses to ready themselves and completely ignoring the fact that accountants are generally unbelievably busy during January dealing with their clients' tax returns. In the limited time that the Government allowed the regulated sector to prepare themselves, the firms must nominate their money laundering officer, establish compliance systems, incorporate them within an office manual and, most importantly, on pain of up to two years imprisonment, train their staff.

Guidance

The Law Society has issued guidance. This is available via its web site (www.lawsociety.org.uk) in the form of 29 PDF downloads and is well over 100 pages long. The Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales has issued a publication of similar length which is on sale at more than £100 per issue.

Additionally, there are numerous lectures available and we are certain that all of our readers will have received flyers and adverts but all of them aimed at the training of qualified staff. Apparently, it is intended that qualified staff and in particular the money laundering officer of the firm should then filter their training down to general staff. In our view, such a course may well be a recipe for disaster if an employee makes a mistake and then seeks to rely upon the statutory defence that he was not trained by pleading that the training that he received was inadequate.

Courses On Line

We are moving into a new era where anti-money laundering and the appropriate procedures required by the Money Laundering Regulations 2003 must be foremost in your mind, not merely during the transaction but from the moment of taking instructions.

Michael Kaye of Kaye Tesler & Co. (www.kt.uklaw.net) has a long history of IT innovation for legal practices and also in lecturing on IT topics. He is particularly concerned about the effect that the money laundering requirements will have on legal firms and he provides a free money laundering news page on the site with frequent updates.
Email kt@uklaw.net.

Later note from Delia: Legalease have now also launched an on-line money laundering training module. Using an interactive question and answer format, the CPD accredited course is structured to ensure that users develop a thorough understanding of the complex issues which may arise within this field. It benefits from having practice area specific examples and costs 59 + VAT for a single user licence. There is a sample chapter on the site.

I have now set up a page on my site for Web Resources for Money Laundering Regulations. I will be attempting to keep this up to date over the next few months as further resources become available.

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