Money laundering in the time of COVID-19 – John Binns writes for Open Access Government

BCL partner John Binn’s writes for Open Access Government on how AML practices are affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.

Here’s an extract from the article:

Money laundering will not be at the top of many people’s lists of things to worry about as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. For those of us whose job it is to worry about money laundering generally, however, that job has just got harder.

Part of the challenge, as for any business during a period of lockdown, is practical – making sure that front-line staff are able to continue to discharge their Anti-Money Laundering (AML) responsibilities even while working remotely, with the use of workarounds where necessary. Video calls and screenshots of passports and utility bills, for instance, will now have to do a lot of the work that used to be done by face-to-face meetings and certified copies.

We must also be alert to the sudden advent of new typologies of fraud, and opportunities for money laundering and sanctions evasion, as a result of the crisis. Organized criminals are exploiting the fears of consumers, some of whom are having to use online systems for the first time. Business owners and managers facing financial pressures may be tempted to cut corners, and government bailout schemes may also be open to abuse.

This article was orignally published on 01/04/2020. You can read the full article on their website.

John Binns is a partner at BCL, specialising in business crime and proceeds of crime. Most of his cases involve an international element, and he has advised clients on appeals to the CJEU in the context of international corruption allegations and targeted financial sanctions.