We’re about to be bombarded with insistences that the law needs to be changed for a bank has been found to be money laundering. Therefore everyone’s forehead bar-code must be read before any deposits into an account are allowed.
This is not actually what is happening and that’s not the necessary course of action.
Firstly, the very fact that there is a prosecution shows that we’ve already got laws about this sort of thing. For, we couldn’t have a prosecution without there being laws against this sort of thing. The very fact that we do have a prosecution is evidence both that we have the law and also that it’s being taken seriously.
Secondly – and we’ll stop at that for we’re not the P³ – money laundering is not the prosecution case. Rather, not filling out the paperwork to check for money laundering is the case. As with that earlier episode over Mexican drug money in fact. It’s a paperwork failure.
NatWest faces criminal prosecution over money-laundering
Nope. Or at best, sorta.
The Financial Conduct Authority said that the bank had accepted funds without doing the proper anti-money-laundering checks. Its prosecution carries the threat of unlimited fines and great reputational taint if the state-controlled business were to be convicted. A criminal conviction could lead to the bank being banned from some jurisdictions or denied public sector work.
Yep. The allegation is not sating the paperclip sniffers.
Now maybe that is a big and important thing and maybe it isn’t but it is different from actual money laundering.
The City watchdog has launched criminal proceedings against taxpayer-owned NatWest for alleged money laundering offences in the first prosecution of a British bank under laws introduced in 2007.
The former Royal Bank of Scotland has been accused of allowing increasingly large cash deposits to be paid into a customer’s account when the transfers should have been flagged as suspicious.
We might well think that money laundering did in fact take place. But that’s not even the allegation here. It is the failure to check, not the allowing it to happen that is being prosecuted.