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Money Laundering

Volume 624: debated on Tuesday 18 April 2017

6. What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on the provisions of the EU anti-money laundering directive in the UK’s negotiations on leaving the EU; and if he will make a statement. (909621)

I reassure the hon. Gentleman that the Treasury and the Department for Exiting the European Union are working closely on that issue. As we exit the EU, we will look to negotiate the best deal possible so that we can continue to work together to maintain justice and security both in the UK and across Europe.

The Panama papers showed that thousands of UK-based banks, accountants, lawyers and other intermediaries have helped to set up shady and opaque corporate structures to handle illicit cash flows after registering in the Crown dependencies and overseas territories. Almost a year on from the anti-corruption summit, will the Minister commit to a public register of beneficial ownership covering the Crown dependencies and overseas territories?

If only we could do that; we do not have the ability to do so. What I can say is that in March 2017 we published the draft money laundering regulations and announced plans for a new watchdog to ensure supervisors and law enforcement work together more effectively. Since 2010, law enforcement have seized £1.4 billion in illegal funds.

The EU is to blame for many things, but it is not to blame for money laundering and, in fact, any solution that looks to the EU to solve money laundering is missing the point that it is an international problem. Therefore, will the Minister confirm that he will be engaging internationally and not through the parochial lens of the EU?

We are of course a founding member of the Financial Action Task Force, which sets international standards for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing. After exiting the EU, the UK will continue to lead in FATF and around the world.