Fraud crackdown – Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill

The Government has introduced a package of “historic” measures that will build on the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act that was given Royal Assent in March to impose sanctions on oligarchs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill will give Companies House new powers to check, challenge and decline incorrect or fraudulent information given when a new company is being formed.

Amongst the measures being introduced, described as “the biggest upgrade to its powers in 170 years”, Companies House will be able to cross check data with public and private partners and to report any activity it deems to be suspicious to security agencies and law enforcement.

The new powers will enhance the protection of personal information provided to Companies House to protect individuals from fraud and other harms.

In a bid to crack down on money laundering and other illegal activity, the Bill will also help prevent the abuse of limited partnerships, including those registered in Scotland, by tightening registration and transparency requirements for these entities.

In addition, the Bill will give law enforcement agencies new intelligence gathering powers and allow them to seize and recover suspected criminal cryptoassets.

Meanwhile, law-abiding businesses and investors across the UK will benefit from ‘simplified filing requirements’.

As Business Secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg said when the Bill was announced before September’s ‘mini-Budget’, the Government wants the UK to remain the “best place in the world to invest and start a business”.

However, fraudsters must understand that the UK is “open for legitimate business only”.

Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “Fraud is the most commonly experienced crime in the UK, costing the taxpayer billions of pounds every year. The proceeds of fraud can either be laundered in the UK or overseas.

“Unfortunately, law-abiding individuals and businesses whose identities are stolen can sometimes be caught up in a web of deceit and be subjected to investigations into financial activity that are traumatic and time-consuming.

“It is particularly interesting to note that the new legislation will close a loophole in relation to Scottish Limited partnerships which were notorious for being misused for illegitimate purposes.”

Source(s): Gov.UK, National Crime Agency

Posted in The Forensic Blog.