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Please note that this briefing paper is no longer being updated but is kept here for readers seeking further detail. The most recent relevant briefing is Economic crime: The UK’s multi-billion pound problem.

This note sets out the main features of the UK’s money laundering legislation which is comprised largely of legislation derived from the EU Third and Fourth Money Laundering Directives.

This note concentrates especially on the impact of the legislation on the financial services industry and upon professional services, such as accountants and solicitors, who are most exposed to the law.

It notes that the guidance given to institutions is interpreted differently both between institutions and over time.  the burdens in terms of compliance are great, however, the benefits, in terms of a safer financial system, are less easy to measure even though they may be considerable.

Another Standard Note – SN/BT/3366 – deals with the practical problems of attempting to prove identity when trying to open a bank account.

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