Reed Smith Client Alerts

Key takeaways

  • On 17 May 2024 the National Crime Agency (NCA) published updated guidance clarifying certain terms and indicating that a more aggressive stance is being taken to target money laundering.
  • The guidance is aimed at reporters of suspicious activity reports (SARs) and reinforces a more stringent scrutiny of SARs, with the threat that a defence may be refused.

Autoren: Patrick Rappo Rosanne Kay Emma Shafton Lauren Bajak

What is a SAR?

SARs are often submitted by those in the regulated sector including professionals such as solicitors, accountants and estate agents. However, they can be submitted by anyone who has knowledge, suspicion or belief that another person is laundering money or financing terrorism and would like to obtain a defence. These individuals are considered a vital source of intelligence. Crucially, SARs provide information and intelligence from the private sector that would otherwise not be accessible to law enforcement.

The SAR regime is administered by the United Kingdom Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) of the NCA to prevent and disrupt money laundering and to counter the financing of terrorism. One of the core functions of the UKFIU is the processing of requests for a defence.

An individual may request a criminal defence against money laundering (DAML) from the NCA where they:

i. Suspect or know that property is criminal; or

ii. Suspect or believe that something is or may be terrorist property; or

iii. Intend to carry out an activity which they anticipate could result in them committing a principal money laundering or terrorist financing offence.