“Some of these jurisdictions have large financial sectors which also make them attractive as destinations or transit points for the proceeds of crime,” the NCA said in its National Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organised Crime report.
It also discusses such practices as buying property in crook’s family members’ names and setting up corporate structures such as Scottish Limited Partnerships to launder money, which the NCA says is too easy.
The report also highlights the role of professional enablers, like IFAs, who “can be complicit, negligent or unwitting but are key facilitators in the money laundering process” but “who may not necessarily be complicit in the criminality”.
However, the NCA said those involved in trust and company services pose the greatest money laundering threat and are “often key enablers in high-end money laundering”.
While there is no reliable estimate of the total value of laundered funds that impact on the UK, the NCA estimates, “there is a realistic possibility the scale of money laundering impacting the UK annually is in the hundreds of billions of pounds”.
The NCA report also finds that Brexit will create opportunities for cross border business crime but a harder border might make it easier to police traffic.
“We expect that many will strive to take advantage of the opportunities that Brexit might present, for example from the design and implementation of a new UK customs system or from increased challenges for EU and UK law enforcement in locating and extraditing international fugitives if the UK were to lose enforcement or intelligence sharing tools.”
Corporate crime expert Laura Dunseath of Pinsent Masons, said: “Brexit will continue to pose a risk of increased criminality for UK companies. There is still a need for better clarity around the types of cooperation frameworks that the authorities are going to have in place with their EU counterparts to replace existing frameworks for arrest warrants and extradition agreements.
“Calls for greater clarity have been voiced on several occasions by the likes of the Serious Fraud Office, but uncertainty remains,” Dunseath said.