HM Revenue and Customs announced a record high fine for a London based business for violating strict regulations, on September 4.
Touma Foreign Exchange Ltd was fined £7.8 million for ignoring anti-money laundering regulations. The fine is for breaching the following rules between June 2017 and September
- Fundamental customer due diligence measures
- Policies, controls and procedures
- Risk assessments and associated record-keeping
- Adequate staff training
GOV.UK has published details of the fine by HM Revenue Customs. Hassanien Touma is the founder of Touma Exchange, founded in 2011, he is now banned from management roles in Money Service Business’s (MSB) regulated by anti-money laundering regulations. Individuals must to go through a vetting test to ensure they are fit and able to operate within the role, and Mr. Touma failed it.
Multiple operations were carried out recently by different bodies, including the Metropolitan Police and Financial Conduct Authority to ensure MSBs are not at risk of being used for money laundering to fund organized crime like drug trafficking, violent crime and terrorism.
Simon York, Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, had the following to say:
– “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.”
It’s really time for all businesses to step up their AML game.