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Money Laundering

Volume 408: debated on Tuesday 1 July 2003

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
(Caroline Flint)

I have today placed in the Library of the House a copy of a report on the effectiveness of the regime for reporting suspicions of money laundering—Suspicious Activity Reports. A copy has also been placed on the Home Office website.The Home Office commissioned the review, which was carried out by KPMG and funded from recovered criminal assets, because we recognised that the current system needs to work better in the fight against money laundering and the tracking of criminals' assets.The report concludes that the present reporting system does lead to criminals being caught but makes a number of recommendations to make it much more effective. The Government welcome the broad thrust of the report. We are determined to ensure that all elements of our asset recovery strategy, of which the money laundering reporting system is one, are working effectively. As a first step we are taking forward the report's principal recommendation and setting up a high level task force, chaired by a senior Home Office official and comprising senior representatives of the private sector and law enforcement, to oversee the changes which are necessary. We will be working with the key stakeholders to ensure that the reporting system delivers maximum intelligence and benefit to law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime and that it operates as efficiently as possible.