Friday, July 11, 2008

The stupidity of the money laundering laws

I have always known that they were stupid and bureaucratic, but I hadn't realised the extent. We've all heard stories of having to present ourselves at the bank with passports, driving licences and other identity document to become a signatory on a hobby club bank account with £50 in it, but hey these could be international terrorists looking to launder money and we can never be too careful.

But I didn't expect to have to go through it when I was moving money around my own accounts at the suggestion and with the help of my financial advisor. We have been with this advisor for 8 years and they have been trading for over 30 years. Before then we were with a company they bought for 6 years. They themselves are regulated to the nth degree and every year we go through the performance of a full "health check".

Well, because we are opening a new fund, but with a large company we have other funds with, we now have to go through the whole process again - passports, driving licences, bank statement and other declarations. I'm sure it must

Still, it keeps the bureaucrats in a job and the politicians have "done something".

9 comments:

Mark Wadsworth said...

Try talking to an accountant, estate agent or solicitor etc. Madness, the whole thing. And EU imposed.

Former Tory said...

.... and it gets madder when you consider the standard means by which much of the Asian and Muslim world transmits funds or, more accurately, value; as obligation, completely outside the banking system.

The Great Simpleton said...

FT, yes these laws always always inconvenience the innocence and are completely useless agianst the intended targets.

Mark, I think that goes for evefryone who deals with large amounts of money being transferred.

Anonymous said...

I agree. In fact, it's worse - money laundering laws don't just create tremendous inconvenience, they are downright dangerous -- people are getting locked up just for carrying money.

As someone in charge of anti-money laundering policies and procedures at a large Internet retailer, I have some serious concerns about the AML laws. Nobody, and I mean NObody, really knows what they are doing in this area, and worse, the laws can be (and sometimes are) used unjustly, corruptly, and incompetently.

Mark Wadsworth said...

More to the point, the definition of A Police State is when it is a crime not to report a crime. Nulab have made two small but significant inroads into this - the money laundering crap, and then locking up the wives of terrorists. What's next?

yokel said...

The only function of these regulations is to increase the level of "prole control".

Just remember how IBM/Hollerith punched card systems helped a certain government in Germany find out all sorts of details from the mandatory 1933 census!

Former Tory said...

A crime not to report a crime.... yes. Actually, it's worse than that; quite Stasi-like, really. Staff in your local bank or building society are told that if they even *think* there might possibly be something even just *slightly* odd about a transaction or your behaviour, or if a large amount of cash is paid in, or if you decline to say where the money came from (if asked, and they are encouraged to ask) - they MUST file a Money Laundering Suspicion Report, confidentially, to the Compliance Officer of the company, who will pass it to NCIS.

It's an offence punishable by 2 years imprisonment, IIRC, and / or an unlimited fine, to tell someone they've been reported on or to give them reason to think they might have been. In an organisation I worked for, staff dealing with the public were told they must not discuss filing a MLSR with any of their colleagues, on pain of disciplinary action. Furthermore, it was the case that it wasn't just money in; staff were encouraged (and trained how to do it) to ask what large cash withdrawals were being used for..... paying a builder, you say? Really? Is he a good builder? I need a builder! Who is he? Thank you! [complete MLSR naming customer and builder, HMRC gets information].

Oh yes - did I say that fin serv organisations which don't file "enough" reports might find one of those incompetent fools from the FSA phoning the Compliance Dept to ask why? And that Compliance Dept employees are people who, having fecked up everything else, cannot control their sphincters when the initials "FSA" are mentioned?

So there you go - that's the sort of lovely Britain that the awfully nice Messrs Brown and Blair have created for us. Next time you sell a car and insist on cash - NCIS may be looking over your shoulder. And HMRC. God help you if you're a builder who just sold a car...

former tory said...

"And that Compliance Dept employees are people who, having fecked up everything else, cannot control their sphincters when the initials "FSA" are mentioned?"

Sorry, Anonymous - not you! I was thinking of the people in the building society Compliance Dept I experienced.......

The Great Simpleton said...

FT,

I hadn't realised that the tentacles spread so far and so deep. It really is starting to to become Kafakaesque. The only bit missing is putting those accused straight in to jail without telling them why.