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Chairman of UK Treasury Committee wants to know what action FCA is taking after FinCEN Leaks show up London as ‘Laundromat’

By Elizabeth Hearst

The chairman of the UK’s Treasury Committee has written to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), UK government ministers and HM Revenue & Customs in the wake of the FinCEN papers publication. 

His letter comes after revelations in the FinCEN documents suggest that the UK was seen as a “higher-risk” jurisdiction in terms of money laundering and financial crime. London is increasingly been seen as ‘Laundromat’ centre, not least in a British Parliamentary report published during the summer.

The Financial Times Advisor reports that Mel Stride, penned a letter to the regulator and asked interim chief executive of the FCA Chris Woolard what remedial action the body was taking following the leak. 

Mr Stride explained that the regulator has a “core role” in combating financial crime and tackling money laundering and asked Mr Woolard what more needs to be done to “further secure” the financial system from economic crime. 

The FinCEN files composed of more than 2,500 documents include more than 2,100 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed by banks and financial institutions to the US Treasury Department Financial Intelligence Unit. 

The revelations suggest that some of the largest and most prolific banking organisations in the world allowed criminals to use their banks. It’s alleged that American bank JPMorgan permitted a company to transfer $1 Billion through a London account, despite not knowing who owned it. The investigation later revealed that the account was linked to a gangster named on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list. 

Mr Stride also asked where UK law enforcement were following up on the information leaked to the papers, and asked whether HM Revenue and Customs was an “effective” money laundering supervisor for those in the jurisdiction. 

He added that the information released is “deeply troubling” and said that the UK’s Treasury Committee “wants to know whether ministers, HMRC and the FCA are on top of this”. 

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