Money laundering is big business. It can be carried out at a grass roots level or be part of a global network of organisations. The consequences of money laundering are serious so it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible to. If you’re charged with money laundering, we recommend you talk to us so we discuss how we will help defend your case.
What is money laundering?
It’s a generic term used to describe the methods criminals use to disguise where the proceeds of their illegally obtained money comes from. Basically, criminals try to cover up the origins of their ‘dirty money’ by feeding it through legitimate businesses so that it looks like it was obtained from legal sources. This is done because they can't use the money in its original form as it would connect them to the criminal activity used to gain the money in the first place and the police would confiscate it.
How do money laundering schemes work?
They range from being very simple, such as putting it through the till of a cash business like a pub or a shop, to highly complicated networks. Most sophisticated money laundering schemes involve three stages:
Placement: getting criminal money into the financial system
Layering: moving money through the financial system via a complex web of transactions, often via offshore companies
Integration: when criminal money becomes absorbed into the economy, such as through investment in property
How is the offence of money laundering committed?
Money laundering offences have similar characteristics across the world. In the UK, there are two key elements to a money laundering offence: the act of laundering itself, for example, providing financial services to channel the proceeds of crime through, and a degree of knowledge or suspicion about the source of the money or the conduct of the person supplying the money.
What is criminal property/conduct?
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Crown has to prove that the laundered proceeds are ‘criminal property’. By that it’s meant that any assets are the result of your benefit from criminal conduct. Criminal conduct is when is when you knowingly commit to criminal activity which breaches UK law.