Money Laundering Compliance – is it fair?
In the increasingly distant past I seem to remember my children telling me that something “was not fair”. My normal reply was that life is not fair but in any event there always seemed to be different rules for different people.
I have come across an example of the latter in connection with the failed bid by England to host the 2018 Football World Cup. Somewhere in the small print of that application is a statement to the effect that certain elements of our criminal law have to be set aside for “FIFA Listed Individuals”. It appears that the country awarded the tournament concerned has to confirm to FIFA that money laundering regulations will not apply to those individuals listed by FIFA. You might wonder what this has got to do with running a football tournament but that is really a side show.
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The important point here is that our government, because no doubt they were consulted, agreed to such an outrageous proposal on the grounds that bringing the World Cup to England would restore national pride and also make a lot of money from foreign tourists, FIFA Listed Individuals notwithstanding.
Whatever your views about FIFA there is surely something rotten in the state of England if our government, of whatever hue, are prepared to waive important pieces of legislation simply for the sake of allowing the country to stage a football tournament.
If the money laundering regulations can be waived for FIFA individuals, and according to the press some of those individuals have rather interesting reputations, why on earth do we have to put up with the money laundering regulations when it comes to dealing with the trusts set up of the Will of Aunt Agatha? She was an entirely blameless soul who lived a morally upright life and who, if it still existed in its former guise, would have had one bank account with the Trustee Savings Bank and owned her own small house.
All of which is leading me to look, yet again, at the time and hence the cost of compliance. It is quite absurd how much time we have to spend on dealing with compliance activities. How long do you take going through anti money laundering procedures with trustees and beneficiaries? (Why beneficiaries? I thought that they were “merely” recipients of the bounty of other people). Do you charge all of your time? If not, why not?
Why cannot there be a waiver of money laundering regulations for all estates below whatever it is that Aunt Agatha’s estate totals? I am sure we could find a sensible number. Why is it that money laundering has no de minimis level?
When are we all going to take to the streets to protest about the waste of time and money that most of the money laundering legislation entails and ask for something more reasonable, sensible and practical?
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