Thursday 7 January 2021 10:50 am

HMRC issues record £28.3m fine for money laundering breaches

HMRC has issued a record £28.3m fine to Luton-based business MT Global, a money transfer company. 

The fine is the largest ever issued by HMRC and relates to “significant” breaches of money laundering regulations between 2017 and 2019. 

The company was penalised for failures in carrying out risk assessments, its policies, controls and procedures, due diligence and record keeping.

According to MT Global’s LinkedIn page the business operates in the UK, Europe and Canada. The firm’s website and phone number are no longer active. 

Read more: Dutch court to probe UBS boss over ING money laundering problems

Bright Line Law barrister Jonathan Fisher QC said the scale of the fine showed HMRC was serious about cracking down on money laundering.

“This fine shows that HMRC means business in its role as anti-money laundering regulator. After a slow start, we are witnessing a gradual increase in the level of penalty imposed on firms for money laundering breaches, especially where the larger firms are involved,” he said.

“Eventually, you can expect HMRC to criminally prosecute some of these cases. Money exchange traders, estate agents, high value dealers and the like, should look out.”

Read more: HMRC criminal actions against rich individuals jump 40% in 2019/20

In 2019 to 2020 HMRC completed 2,000 interventions on supervised businesses, issued penalties totalling £9.1m and stopped 89 non-compliant businesses and individuals from trading. 

It also recouped over £166m from the proceeds of crime, of which more than £22m was linked to money laundering offences.

Read more: Snitches get riches: HMRC payments to tax evasion whistleblowers up 63% in 2019/20

Nick Sharp, deputy director of economic crime, fraud investigation service at HMRC, said: “Businesses who fail to comply with the money laundering regulations leave themselves, and the UK economy, open to attacks by criminals.

“Money laundering is not a victimless crime. Criminals use laundered cash to fund serious organised crime, from drug importation to child sexual exploitation, human trafficking and even terrorism.”

City A.M. was unable to contact MT Global.