Company fined £7.8m for breaching money laundering regulations

A company has been fined a record £7.8m by HMRC after breaching money laundering regulations.

An investigation by HMRC officials found that West London money transmitter Touma Foreign Exchange Ltd had failed in several ways to carry out its duties under the Money Laundering Regulations.

These failures included:

  • risk assessments and associated record-keeping
  • policies, controls and procedures
  • fundamental customer due diligence measures
  • adequate staff training.

Mr Hassanien Touma was banned on 20 May 2019 from any management roles at a business governed by anti-money laundering regulations after he acted as an officer for the Money Services Business (MSB). Individuals are required to pass a vetting test to ensure they are fit and proper to carry out the role, and Mr Touma failed to do this.

The fine was announced following a separate HMRC, Metropolitan Police (MPS) and Financial Conduct Authority month-long crackdown on MSBs at risk of being used for money laundering to fund organised crime, such as drug trafficking, violent crime and terrorism.

Simon York, Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said: “Money laundering is the lifeblood of the illicit drugs trade, human trafficking and other serious crimes which bring harm and misery to communities across our country. It also supports economic crime which costs the UK billions of pounds every year.

“We know that criminals use MSBs to disguise and move dirty money, and we’re determined to thwart them by helping businesses avoid being exploited in this way.

“However, a word to the wise for those firms who, either by ignorance or design, continue to flaunt the rules – this record fine shows we mean business, so get your house in order before we come knocking.”

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