The UK AML/CFT Primary Legislation

The primary UK legislation is;

  • Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 – PoCA (as amended by SOCPA 2005), supplemented by;-
  • The Terrorism Act 2000 (as amended by the Anti-Terrorism, Crime & Security Act 2001)

This powerful piece of legislation provides for a single set of money laundering offences to the proceeds of all crimes. The legislation covers all criminal property, with no exceptions, therefore no de minimis threshold. This can demonstrated by the following quotation;-

The Act (POCA) makes no distinction between degrees of criminal property. An illegally obtained sum of £10 is no less susceptible to the definition of ‘criminal property’ than a sum of £1 million. Whatever may be the resource implications, the legal professional would appear to be bound by the provisions of the Act in all cases, however big or small.” Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, – PvP, 2002

The POCA also covers acts committed elsewhere in the world that would also be an offence if committed in the UK (subject to the duality test), to this end the POCA;-

  • Establishes a series of criminal offences in connection with money laundering, failing to report and tipping off;
  • Sets out a series of penalties for the various offences established under POCA;
  • Establishes the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) with power to investigate whether a person holds criminal assets and, if so, their location;
  • Creates five investigative powers for law enforcement

The Terrorism Act 2000 (TA2000) as amended by the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. This Act:

  • Establishes offences relating to involvement in facilitating, raising, possessing or using funds for terrorist purposes and for failing to report suspicions, tipping off and prejudicing an investigation
  • Empowers authorities to make Orders on financial institutions in connection with terrorist investigations
  • Establishes a list of proscribed organisations with which financial services firms may not deal.