Money Laundering Regulations: report suspicious activities
Businesses regulated by the Money Laundering Regulations must report activity that may be linked to money laundering or terrorist financing.
If your business is regulated by the Money Laundering Regulations you must take steps to identify any activity you suspect may be linked to money laundering or terrorist financing.
If you know or suspect there is such a link you must report it to the National Crime Agency (NCA). If you want to proceed with a transaction that you’re suspicious of you must ask the NCA for consent.
What a suspicious transaction or activity is
There are many reasons why you or one of your employees might become suspicious about a transaction or activity. Often it’s just because it’s something unusual for your business - perhaps a customer has tried to make an exceptionally large cash payment. Maybe the customer behaved strangely, or made unusual requests that didn’t seem to make sense. Perhaps the transaction they wanted to make just didn’t add up commercially.
You must look carefully at all unusual transactions to see if there’s anything suspicious about them.
More guidance on the main indicators of suspicious transactions can be found in HM Revenue and Customs’ guidance for:
When to report suspicious activity
Anyone in your business must report any suspicious transaction or activity they become aware of to the ‘nominated officer’. It’s the nominated officer’s responsibility to decide whether they need to send a report or ‘disclosure’ about the incident to the NCA. They do this by making a Suspicious Activity Report.
The nominated officer must normally suspend the transaction if they suspect money laundering or terrorist financing. If it’s not practical - or not safe - to suspend the transaction, they should make the report as soon as possible after the transaction is completed.
The NCA receives and analyses Suspicious Activity Reports, and uses them to identify the proceeds of crime. It counters money laundering and terrorism by passing on important information to law enforcement agencies so they can take action.
How to submit a Suspicious Activity Report
Your nominated officer can send a Suspicious Activity Report to the NCA:
- by fax
- by post or courier
Full instructions for making a report are available on the NCA website.
Get consent to proceed with a transaction or activity
You shouldn’t proceed without getting consent from the NCA if a particular transaction or activity raises suspicions of money laundering or terrorist financing. The NCA will respond within 7 days of receiving your Suspicious Activity Report.
You can proceed with the transaction or activity if you don’t receive a decision from the NCA within 7 working days from when they received your request. You won’t be committing an offence because consent is automatically assumed in law if no decision has been received after 7 working days.
If you do get a decision within 7 days but the NCA doesn’t give you permission to proceed, they have a further 31 calendar days to take action. If after that further 31 days you have not heard anything from the NCA you can proceed if you want to. You won’t be committing an offence.