The National Crime Agency (NCA) has said that UK lawyers are failing to report suspected money laundering despite repeated warnings. The watchdog estimates that roughly £90bn a year of ill-gotten gains washes through the City of London.
Donald Toon, the director of economic and cybercrime at the watchdog, told the Financial Times: “Are we looking at potential Russian targets? Of course we are. We are looking at high-value Russian assets inside the UK . . . and whether or not we can be in a position to go to the courts and raise sufficient concern to obtain an unexplained wealth order on those assets.”
Questioning whether lawyers were taking their obligations seriously enough, Toon added: “We believe that we do not get the level of reporting from legal firms of suspicious activity that we would expect. We have said it a number of times and there has been no significant change.”
He said the NCA was working closely with the Solicitors Regulation Authority to identify legal professionals who were not following the rules.