Money Laundering and Tipping Off

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Bankers, accountants, auditors, and other professionals might also be liable for the crime of money laundering under the offence of “tipping off”. This offence is committed when an individual subjectively suspects or understands that an authorised or protected disclosure has been remitted and goes ahead to disclose the information to a third party, which is likely to prejudice investigations that might be conducted. Section 333A of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) of 2002 provides that an individual commits the crime of “tipping off” when she/he suspects that an authorised officer(s) is carrying out an investigation in line with the POCA Act or does suspect that a money laundering report has been made to authorities and discloses the information to a third party who is most likely to interfere with the quality of investigations.

Since a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) is a piece of information that signals law enforcement agencies that a client’s activity is somewhat suspicious and points to terrorist financing or money laundering, the report forms an important part of investigations and is a valuable document indicating potential criminality. In this light, it is important not to disclose the information to the client since if the information in the SAR is conveyed to the client, it would interfere with investigations. The latter explains why a person found guilty of the offence of “tipping off” is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine or a maximum prison term of five years or both.

August 18, 2023

Business Crime Law

Subject area:

Money Laundering

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