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The Environment Agency’s Efforts to Combat Money Laundering

Author: Niall Hearty  13 February 2024
2 min read

Niall Hearty of Rahman Ravelli outlines how the Agency’s Economic Crime Unit will function.

The Environment Agency has created an Economic Crime Unit to help it tackle money laundering and carry out financial investigations involving the waste sector.

The new unit will build on the work of the Agency’s Financial Investigations Team, which was used to identify money and assets that should be seized.

The Financial Investigations Team is now being expanded into what is the new unit. It will be made up of accredited financial investigators and financial intelligence officers and a financial crime analyst.

The unit will be comprised of two teams: the asset denial team and the money laundering investigations team. The asset denial team will focus on account freezing orders, cash seizures, pre-charge restraints and confiscations. The money laundering investigations team will enable the Environment Agency to conduct dedicated money laundering investigations targeting environmental offences.

 

Sign

Alan Lovell, Chair of the Environment Agency, said the creation of the new unit was a sign that it would not tolerate criminals moving into the waste sector and using it to facilitate other crimes.

The Environment Agency’s most recent national survey on the extent and nature of waste crime found that 18% of all waste in England – approximately 34 million tonnes – was believed to be illegally managed.[1]

The unit’s creation has been welcomed by the Environmental Services Association (ESA), the trade body for the UK’s recycling and waste management industry.

ESA executive director, Jacob Hayler, said:

“From fly-tipping to landfill tax evasion, waste crime is fundamentally a financial crime predicated on avoiding the cost of proper waste treatment in pursuit of maximum profit – leaving society and the natural environment to foot the bill while undermining legitimate business."

“For too long, criminals operating in our sector have viewed enforcement and criminal penalties as an acceptable cost of business, so the ESA and its members very much welcome the Environment Agency’s new financial investigatory efforts, alongside tougher asset-denial measures to demonstrate that crime in our sector doesn’t pay.’’

 

Relationships

The Economic Crime Unit is set to utilise all the working relationships the Environment Agency already has in place with bodies such as the police and HM Revenue and Customs.

Since 2022, the Environment Agency has been one of just three non-police agencies to have access to the Police National Computer, Police National Database and the national Automatic Number Plate Recognition service.

 

Sources

  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-waste-crime-survey-2023/national-waste-crime-survey-2023-summary

 

 

 

 

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Niall Hearty

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Niall has a wealth of corporate crime expertise and an ability to coordinate global bribery and corruption cases. His achievements in such investigations have made him a logical choice for corporate clients.

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