Money laundering regulation in the Crown Protectorates – just how bad it is

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I blogged yesterday on how few suspicious activity reports are raised in the Crown Protectorates.

The I dug into the NAO report into the places a little further and found this:

In Bermuda, very few of the 313 reports received in 2006 had been investigated to the extent of their potential for prosecution.

In Anguilla, the Financial Intelligence Unit has no permanent full-time staff. Investigation work, and developing local officers to investigate financial crime there, fell to a contracted UK Detective Inspector, who also acquired criminal investigation and management responsibilities and was supported by one part-time local detective constable. There was a backlog of some 20 cases and the Inspector estimated that the staffing requirement to match the workload as three full time investigators and an administrator

In summary:

Where significant numbers of suspicious activity reports are generated, an increasing burden falls on law enforcement agencies to assess the substance of the reports, investigate those found to have substance and to support subsequent prosecutions.

This burden has outstripped the capacity of law enforcement agencies in most Territories. Only the Cayman Islands has so far achieved successful prosecutions of local participants for offshore money laundering offences.

And let's not get excited. It has done two prosecutions. That's two for 32,300 people working in this sector.

And why can't they regulate? Because they don't have the resources. Why haven't they the resources? Because they won't tax.

It's a vicious cycle, fuelled by accountants, lawyers and bankers who head that industry of 32,300 people.

And it has to be broken. It's the UK's duty to do it.