The National Crime Agency’s (NCA) economic crime unit is warning that lawyers and accountants will be expected to file far more reports flagging suspicious transactions, in the latest move to clamp down on suspicious wealth.
Donald Toon, director of the NCA’s economic crime unit, said it was preparing to expand the use of Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs), which came into force last January under the Criminal Finances Act.
Partner David Corker commented on the news:
“Periodically heads of law enforcement agencies court publicity for themselves where they elaborate about dire threats to our national wellbeing and they unveil their groundbreaking initiative to tackle them. Usually these interviews are prompted by either or both of these causes. The Treasury is due to scrutinise the agency’s budget for the forthcoming year or the Home Office is reviewing the agency’s scope of work or maybe even, its future.
“Whilst Mr Toon utters the classic tropes of law enforcement agencies feeling under threat, he worryingly decides to contribute the relentless anti-Russian drumbeat which was started by Boris Johnson earlier this year. He casts UWO’s as primarily a weapon against expatriate Russians who have emigrated to England. He implies that their potency in combatting money laundering should be evaluated by means of how many such Russians have their assets seized. This is lazy and populist thinking. Thinking that the recent events in Salisbury provides him with cover, Mr Toon plays to the gallery of stereotypes and folk-devils. The Russians are coming and we at the NCA are the bulwark ready to repulse them.”