UK banks and financial services are ignoring customer checks designed to curb criminals’ abilities to launder the proceeds of crime, Roberto Saviano warned. Mr Saviano, author of the international bestseller Gomorrah, which exposed the workings of the Neapolitan crime organisation Camorra, said: “The British treat it as not their problem because there aren’t corpses on the street.”
His warning follows a National Crime Agency (NCA) threat assessment which stated: “We assess that hundreds of billions of US dollars of criminal money almost certainly continue to be laundered through UK banks, including their subsidiaries, each year.”
Last month, the NCA warned that despite the UK’s role in developing international standards to tackle money laundering, it remains a “strategic threat to the UK’s economy and reputation”.
Surely now, the UK banks need to take a thorough approach to compliance – and probably some expert legal advice – as everyone seems to acknowledge that change is necessary.