UK launches new anti-money laundering watchdog

The Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) is based within the FCA and will work with all the UK’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) supervisors to help improve standards, and with law enforcement to strengthen cooperation.

OPBAS will directly oversee the 22 accountancy and legal professional body AML supervisors in the UK. It will ensure these 22 organisations meet the high standards set out in the Money Laundering Regulations 2017, and has powers to investigate and penalise those that do not.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said:

This new watchdog will deepen the government’s partnership with the private sector as we work together to tackle illicit finance whilst minimising the burdens on legitimate businesses. This sends a clear message to criminals and terrorists that their dirty money is not welcome here.

Launching OPBAS delivers on the government’s commitment to reform the AML supervisory regime, a key part of the 2016 Action plan for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance.

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