‘Unexplained Wealth Order’ part of proposed AML bill in U.K.


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Crime Finances Bill for AML/CFT debuts

The British government this week introduced its new Crime Finances Bill to the House of Commons. The bill aims to improve AML/CFT enforcement by such measures as “Unexplained Wealth Orders.”

In a press release, officials describe the proposed legislation as “part of a wider package of measures aimed at strengthening the government’s response to money laundering and improving the amount of criminal assets confiscated by the state and, where possible, returned to victims.”

The bill focuses on improvements in fighting money laundering and corruption, recovering the proceeds of crime, and more effectively countering the financing of terror.

Reporters and AML analysts have long identified London as one of the preferred locations for the purchase of real estate and the parking of proceeds from international corruption. This bill seeks to address those issues by enabling “seizure and forfeiture of the proceeds crime that are stored in UK assets, extending current provisions to include value stored in bank accounts and high-value property, such as precious metals and jewels,” according to the government release.

To bolster that enforcement, the bill also includes creation of “unexplained wealth orders”—a move that would place the onus of validation of the legal source of unexplained wealth on the holder of that wealth.

Another major tenet of the bill is improving the sharing of information between public and private sectors so that law enforcement agencies have “the best possible intelligence.” This includes reform of the Suspicious Activity Report system in order to facilitate more effective investigations of SARs.

The bill also includes provisions for improving the response of law enforcement and responding more effectively to risks of terror financing. The bill will first be considered in the House of Commons.


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