UK establishes money laundering watchdog

On December 21, 2017 HM Treasury announced the creation of a new watchdog organization, the Office for Professional Body AML Supervision (OPBAS), to strengthen anti-money laundering (AML) standards and to facilitate cooperation across law enforcement agencies.

The OPBAS office will provide direct supervision to "22 accountancy and legal professional body AML supervisors in the UK" (1) and will work to "ensure the 22 bodies meet the high standards set out in the Money Laundering Regulations 2017, and have powers to investigate and penalise those that do not." (1)

The OPBAS regulations will take effect on January 18, 2018.

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UK Introduces Sanctions Bill

On October 18, 2017 the UK "Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill" (the "Bill") was introduced in the upper house of the Parliament of the UK.  The UK government news release stated the Bill "ensures that when the UK leaves the EU, we can continue to impose, update, and lift sanctions and AML regimes." (1)

Most of the sanctions regimes the UK is currently complying with had their powers established in the European Communities Act of 1972.  Once the UK fully withdraws from the European Union, the Bill will establish necessary legal authority in order to continue to work with their international partners and effectively enforce sanctions regimes and money laundering regulations. 

"This will enable us to impose sanctions as appropriate either alone or with partners in the EU and around the world, to take targeted action against countries, organizations and individuals who contravene international law, commit or finance terrorism or threaten international peace and security." (2) - Alan Duncan, Minister for Europe.

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