Man jailed for failure to spot money laundering
A man who ran a money-exchange shop in the West Midlands has been jailed for 12 months for his failure to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations (MLR). The regulations are designed to put in place certain controls to prevent businesses being used for money laundering by criminals and terrorists.
Paramjit Singh Sangha, 53 years old, was arrested by HMRC officers last October after transferring over £400,000 of criminally acquired cash to India. At a recent hearing, Sangha pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to comply with MLRs having failed to properly determine the source of the money he was transferring.
Despite being reminded of his obligations during visits from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), he did not verify the identity of all his customers, failed to keep supporting documentation and neglected to train his staff to spot suspicious activity.
Colin Booker, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:
‘MLRs exist to prevent businesses being used for money laundering purposes by criminals. People who run money services bureaux are required to take extra care when transferring larger sums of money, to help prevent criminally obtained cash from being laundered outside the UK.’
Failure to comply with the money laundering regulations can result in a civil financial penalty or criminal prosecution that could result in an unlimited fine and/or prison term of up to 2 years.