HC Deb 12 February 2004 vol 417 c1623W
Harry Cohen

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will take steps to tackle the misuse of UK-based companies to facilitate money laundering and illegal asset transfer from other countries; and if she will make a statement. [154452]

Mr. Sutcliffe

The UK has a comprehensive set of defences against money laundering which make us one of the least attractive countries in the world for money launderers to operate. The system has been strengthened considerably in recent months, with new primary and secondary legislation and a major programme to strengthen the systems for industry to report on possible money laundering.

The DTI works closely with the Treasury and Home Office over devising a legislative framework that deters and detects money laundering. I have powers to appoint company inspectors and to require information from companies under the Companies Acts. My Department is aware of its responsibility to report any evidence of possible money laundering to the National Criminal Intelligence Service and when we uncover such transactions we do so. We have close working relationships with other UK regulators and law enforcement agencies. We have powers to assist overseas regulators and can seek their help if we need it.