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Banks: Africa

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what procedures his Department has in place to ensure that (a) illegal and (b) illegally-acquired funds from African countries are not deposited with UK banks; whether his Department has undertaken any recent investigations into such practices; and if he will make a statement. (318067)

The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 require banks and other regulated businesses to identify ‘Politically Exposed Persons’ (PEPs) and assess whether and to what extent they present a heightened risk before undertaking business with them, including opening new accounts or policies. Such transactions are subject to enhanced forms of scrutiny, including measures to establish the source of wealth and funds involved.

PEPs include individuals entrusted by an overseas Government with prominent public functions, such as Heads of State or Heads of Government, senior officials, and their immediate family and close associates.

HM Treasury chairs the cross-Government ‘PEPs Strategic Group’ which co-ordinates action to address the threats posed by corrupt PEPs.

The police are responsible for investigating such practices and have specific units responsible for doing so.