Washing your dirty laundry in public isn’t a phrase you hear very often, as it’s considered quite an old fashioned. People’s views on money laundering are also possibly out of date, as I anticipate that it’s still associated with organised crime and drug dealing but this isn’t the case anymore. Today even honest reputable businesses can accidentally find themselves guilty of money laundering and we must all be responsible for making sure our businesses are compliant.
You might think that as cash is much less common in business, with more use of things like PayPal and credit cards, so it should be easier to keep on the right side of the law.
However, money laundering isn’t just about case. It affects money being transferred between bank accounts as well.
You might think it’s the banks responsibility to make sure that the money is “clean” but we all have to play our part. If money is being transferred in and out of your company’s bank account, it’s your responsibility to make sure you are taking all reasonable steps to ensure that you are not being used to clean money for someone else.
Also watch out for making or accepting “special offers”. We all know that if an offer is too good to be true it probably is, but if that can involve criminal activity, you could be implicated in that too. For example I was in a new restaurant recently and the bill gave us a 20% discount. When I went to pay I was told that it only applied if I was paying cash. I promptly paid by credit card and explained to the manager how not only was his offer a breach of banking regulations and could lead to an investigation by trading standards, but by encouraging people to pay in cash by offering such a big discount, this could be a sign of money laundering and/or tax fraud. Or is it just a coincidence that the amount of the discount is the same amount as the VAT?????
Good tips are to make sure you know where the money is coming from and whose money it is. Checking the identity of the person or company making the payment should also give you some protection but overall there is no substitute for having a robust money laundering policy and making sure its carefully followed by all of your staff.
If in doubt, make sure you check what you are doing with an expert. That’s what we are here for.
Kleyman and co solicitors. The full service law firm. Squeaky clean!