Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : The New Approach to crime fighting [October 1997]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 8 October 1997.

The Government is developing a series of proposals aimed at clamping down on the money laundering activities of criminal gangs,  the Economic Secretary, Helen Liddell, announced today.

At the National Financial Investigators’ Conference in Wakefield the Minister set out a series of measures, following a review of the UK’s anti-money laundering regime, to tackle financial crime.

The proposals, currently being worked on, include:

  • strengthening the role of the financial regulators in the fight against money laundering; stronger and more effective legal framework;
  • increased attention to unregulated sectors, including company formation agents, money remitters and bureaux de change;
  • strengthening the effectiveness of the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) at the heart of the system;
  • more information for the public; and
  • the removal of unnecessary obstacles to the exchange of confidential information between the police, the financial regulators and the Inland Revenue.

The Minister said that the UK already had one of the most effective and comprehensive anti money laundering regimes in the world, a fact recognised by the Financial Action Task Force.  But there is no room for complacency.  With the current reform of financial regulation, the criminal regime could not be ignored. She said:

“A City free of regulatory abuse but open to fraud, corruption and money laundering is not one that will survive and grow in the current international climate.”

She applauded the revolutionary approach the investigators were using in tracking down financial activity. The Minister said:

“This goes much wider than pure money laundering – it is about a new approach to crime fighting.

“Dismantling the financial strands of a criminal gang is one of the best ways of putting them out of business – hitting them where it hurts, in their pocket.”