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HMRC internal manual

Money Laundering Regulations: Compliance

Appendix 7 Miscellaneous Guidance: Transaction records kept in a foreign language

A Visiting Officer carrying out an MLR visit to a Money Service Business (Money Transmitter) or High Value Dealer in the import/export business may find that the business has maintained its transaction records in a foreign language. This is sometimes the case with businesses that transmit or sell goods to the Indian sub-continent but it could apply to any nationality. This poses the question of what can we do in a situation where a business has kept its records in a foreign language and is unwilling to provide a translation.

The requirement to keep records is in Regulation 19 MLR 2007. However, this regulation does not specify the language that the records must be kept in. We regard it as implicit in the legislation that as we are the supervisor for businesses that are trading in the UK, that the records should be maintained in English or Welsh since these are the only recognised official languages of the UK. Regulation 37(1) gives an officer the power to require a relevant person to provide such information as he/she specifies in a notice. Regulation 37(3) provides that the officer may only use this power if the information requested is “reasonably required” so that the supervisory responsibilities of HMRC as contained in MLR 2007 can be carried out.

We consider that Regulation 37 covers this situation and allows an officer to require that the business produces a copy of its records in English. It is stressed however that use of a Regulation 37(1) notice needs to be proportionate requiring the business to translate sufficient records as are necessary to enable an effective supervisory visit to the business to be carried out.