Speaking in the City, the Home Secretary has announced plans for the creation of a National Economic Crime Centre to combat the threat of money laundering.
The Cabinet Office has led a review of anti-corruption strategy over several months and the new Centre will form the culmination of this strategy. The National Economic Crime Centre will coordinate the UK’s response to all fraud and corruption within the country. It will sit within the purview of the National Crime Agency. The move will further see a Home Office Minister be named responsible for tackling economic crime.
Home Secretary, Amber Rudd said: “Today we are taking action against economic crime, and by that I mean the high-level crime, the billions that have been laundered through the City of London. We are very clear we expect higher standards of integrity in this country. There is a myth that there are no real victims of economic crime, but I have seen first-hand how it can ruin people’s lives. It is not a victimless crime and so it’s vital we tackle these offences that can leave innocent people destitute, cost the country billions every year, and allow gangs to profit from serious and violent crimes.”
In the same announcement Ms Rudd secured the future of the Serious Fraud Office, whose future had been rumoured to be under threat.
Under plans for an enhanced response to money laundering and criminal activity, the government has renewed a commitment to introduce an Overseas Companies Beneficial Ownership Register. This will ensure that overseas companies that own or buy property in the UK or participate in central government procurement, will be required to provide details of their ultimate owners. The government claims this will reduce opportunities for criminals to use shell companies to launder illicitly gained wealth in London property.
The revised response sets out six priorities, including: reducing the insider threat in high-risk domestic sectors; strengthening Britain as a financial centre; reducing corruption in public procurement and grants; and improving the business environment globally.
Read the full story in the Financial Times (subscription required):
Billions of pounds have been laundered through the City of London, home secretary Amber Rudd will say on Monday as she announces plans for a national economic crime centre. The new organisation, part of a revised anti-corruption strategy, is being set up after a sweeping audit of the UK's economic crime agencies, led by the Cabinet Office, that has taken several months.
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