aml & abc compliance
Prevention IS the best cure.
Businesses face tight regulation and potentially crippling penalties for non-compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) and anti-bribery & corruption (ABC) laws. Compliance is critical now more than ever.
If your business is subject to the Money Laundering Regulations you must ensure adequate procedures are in place to prevent money laundering taking place. Such processes can include appointing nominated officers, ensuring proper identity checks are carried out, keeping documentation and, where necessary, carrying out enhanced checks to determine the provenance of monies paid by clients. You must also report suspicious activity to the National Crime Agency (NCA) - see here.
Adherence to the ever-increasing provisions of money laundering legislation is crucial since financial penalties and a prosecution can follow breaches - this can affect your financial position, your reputation and, ultimately, your liberty.
As a Certified Fraud Examiner, I am ideally placed to review your existing anti-money laundering processes and advise on systems to ensure you avoid penalties and a prosecution for non-compliance.
ANTI-BRIBERY & CORRUPTION
The Bribery Act 2010 has been in force since 1 July 2011. This has placed the UK at the forefront of anti-corruption legislation and imposes severe penalties including unlimited fines, up to ten years in prison, and a mandatory ban from tendering for public work in the EU.
The Bribery Act has revamped the criminal law on offering and receiving bribes. It is an exhaustive piece of legislation and has introduced a new strict liability offence of failing to prevent bribery. Companies therefore have to bear the burden of proving that they have adequate anti-bribery procedures and policies, otherwise they risk large penalties or a prosecution.
The Bribery Act is far reaching; so anyone (person or organisation, regardless of size), whether or not they are a UK national, can be prosecuted if any part of a bribery offence takes place in the UK, if they have a close connection with the UK, or if it carries on a business or part of a business in the UK.
The government has set out six guiding principles to help companies to assess whether their procedures are sufficient to prove that everything possible has been done to prevent bribery and corruption. These are:
1. Proportionate procedures
The policies and procedures a commercial organisation has in place to prevent bribery should be proportionate to the bribery risks the organisation faces. Procedures should be aligned to the nature, scale and complexity of the organisation's activities, while also being clear, practical, accessible and effectively implemented and enforced.
2. Top level commitment
The top-level management of a commercial organisation is defined by the nature of the individual company. It can be the board of directors, the owners of the company or any other equivalent body or person. Top-level management should be demonstrably committed to preventing bribery by a person associated with it, fostering a culture within the organisation in which bribery is never acceptable.
3. Risk assessment
For any anti-bribery process to be consistently effective, the organisation must assess the nature and extent of its exposure to potential external and internal risks of bribery on its behalf by persons associated with it. The assessment should be periodic, informed and well documented. As business operations change and evolve, so will the risk facing the organisation and it is therefore imperative for regular re-assessment to be undertaken.
4. Due diligence
Due diligence procedures must be applied, taking a proportionate and risk based approach, with regard to the individuals who perform or will perform services for or on behalf of the organisation. This is crucial if identified bribery risks are to be mitigated.
Organisations need to ensure that that bribery prevention policies and procedures are embedded and understood throughout the organisation, via both internal and external communication. Communication should include training that is proportionate to the risks the organisation faces.
6. Monitoring and review
As an overarching principle, organisations should monitor and review procedures designed to prevent bribery by persons associated with it and make improvements where necessary.
For advice about whether your policies and procedures are sufficient to avoid criminal liability, please contact me. I can assist by drafting/reviewing policies, ensuring compliance with the law, providing representation where there are allegations of corruption, or assistance where you would like to explore self-reporting an incident to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the authority that investigates bribery and corruption.