On 10 January 2020 changes to the Government's Money Laundering Regulations came into force. They update the UK's Anti Money Laundering regime to incorporate international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and to transpose the EU’s 5th Money Laundering Directive.
These Regulations and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 impose a number of obligations on law firms in the United Kingdom as part of the UK Government’s measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The combined effect of this legislation is to provide a stringent and comprehensive system of client identification procedures, record keeping and mandatory reporting.
When first taking your instructions we are required to identify both our client and (if relevant) the ultimate beneficial owner of our client, and to verify that identity in a number of ways. We may need your assistance to satisfy these requirements. Without compliance with these obligations we will not be able to act for you.
It is our policy that the requirements for identifying and verifying a client’s identity which are in force in the United Kingdom also apply in our offices outside the UK unless local laws impose higher requirements, in which event we shall apply those higher standards.
Legislation in the UK and elsewhere may also place us under a legal obligation, in certain circumstances, to disclose confidential information we have about you and your affairs to law enforcement authorities. Our obligations are not optional and we cannot override or avoid them.
We will, of course, ensure that we only report information that we are obliged to report as a matter of law. We may not be able to inform you of the report we have made unless and until permitted to do so by the law enforcement authorities.