Money laundering solicitor

 

Money laundering solicitors work for the defence or the prosecution and given the complexity of the law in this area it is imperative that any defendant instructs an experienced money laundering solicitor to defend them.

Criminal confiscation and money laundering offences are often interlinked, which means that when the prosecution is investigating what has happened to the proceeds of crime, money laundering offences are likely to be considered.

The law on money laundering

Money laundering is the offence of legitimising money that came from illegitimate origins. For example, if a person makes one million pounds from importing and selling drugs, they cannot simply put the money in a bank account, but instead must disguise the origins by making the money appear legitimate.

Money laundering schemes are often highly sophisticated and involve a number of stages:

  • Firstly: placing the money into the financial system
  • Secondly: moving the money through many different transactions and jurisdictions
  • Thirdly: putting the money into the economy, often by investment in property

Using a solicitor

Money laundering solicitors have a number of roles within the legal profession. A money laundering solicitor can:

  • Work for either the prosecution or the defence in criminal proceedings
  • Will often need some knowledge of other jurisdiction’s laws and extradition laws

The reason for this is that many money launderers work internationally and may be arrested in a different country, with the either the defendant or the authorities, wanting the trial to be held in another jurisdiction.

Although the money laundering solicitor clearly has an important role to play in the prosecution and defence of people accused of money laundering, they also have an increasingly important role to play in professional compliance with money laundering rules.

Rules and regulations

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 have put increasing pressures on professionals, particularly legal professionals, to be more aware of people involved in money laundering.

As a result of changes, many money laundering solicitors have found themselves required by professionals to bring practices in line with the new rules. Firms must have procedures in place that check the identities of clients and do additional checks in the event that the client or the transaction seems risky.

Without these procedures, if money laundering does occur at a firm, then the solicitor involved could be:

  • Penalised by the Law Society
  • Possibly have their practicing certificate revoked
  • Could be criminally prosecuted

In order for a solicitor to be convicted of an offence under POCA, they only need to have constructive knowledge of money laundering, which means they don’t necessarily need to know or suspect that money laundering is occurring to suffer penalties.

In certain circumstances, the agency that is prosecuting can withhold your right to legal advice, but it is only allowed in a limited number of cases and there are a certain procedural steps which the agency must adhere to in order to do this. If the agency does not follow the necessary steps, they may not be able to use some of the evidence gained.

Are you involved in a money laundering case and need quick legal representation? Contact Law works with some of the best criminal lawyers in the country that specialise in money laundering cases. Money laundering is a highly complex area of law and it is never recommended to face these charges unrepresented. Please call us on 0800 046 1464 or complete the web-form above.

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