Partner Bambos Tsiattalou comments on the use of suspicious activity reports in the fight against dirty money.
Bambos’ comments were published in The Times, 21 November 2019, and can be found here.
“Suspicious activity reports (Sars) to the UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU), part of the National Crime Agency (NCA), could be described as “Neighbourhood Watch for the City”.
Designed primarily to alert the authorities to possible instances of money laundering or terrorist funding, Sars submissions have become a significant bureaucratic preoccupation for law firms, financial services companies and other regulated professionals.
Hundreds of thousands of reports are made each year and the numbers have been rising. However, their significance extends farther than may be thought. Bambos Tsiattalou, a partner at the criminal defence firm Stokoe Partnership, says: “Dirty money is itself evidence of a crime of some kind — any substantive offence is almost certain to entail a money-laundering dimension.””