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Money Laundering

Volume 495: debated on Tuesday 7 July 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of anti-money laundering legislation in preventing people with connections with corrupt regimes having accounts with regulated banks; (284270)

(2) what recent discussions his Department has had with the Financial Services Authority on politically-exposed persons and bank accounts operated by regulated institutions.

The UK has a robust anti-money laundering regime. When last evaluated by the Financial Action Task Force, the international anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standard-setting body, the UK achieved one of the highest overall compliance ratings of any country.

Since then we have continued to improve the effectiveness of the UK's regime; in particular, through the introduction in December 2007 of new money laundering regulations. These regulations require banks, and other regulated businesses, to undertake comprehensive customer due diligence checks, including identifying any beneficial owners involved. Enhanced due diligence procedures are required in higher-risk situations, including where the client is a politically exposed person.

HM Treasury has regular discussions on the effectiveness of the money laundering regulations with business stakeholders and public partners, such as the FSA, and in the specific case of politically exposed persons (PEP's), also with the Department for International Development. Discussions on PEPs are held both bilaterally and in several fora, including the Money Laundering Advisory Committee, that bring together cross-sector and cross-Whitehall participants.