Submission to the Foreign Affairs Committee Inquiry: Responding to illicit and emerging finance. June 2022.

10 October, 2022 | 3 minute read

Read the full submission here.



Review the designation criteria underpinning the Global Anti-Corruption (GAC) sanctions regime to consider whether ‘abuse of function’ would provide greater flexibility for FCDO staff to impose designations.

Review how the sanctions regime can work in tandem with the criminal justice system more effectively to ensure assets are seized as well as frozen, including by reviewing the policy guidance note under the GAC sanctions regime in relation to when sanctions will be used where UK law enforcement has jurisdiction.

Develop a model within the Sanctions Unit where specialists work with local posts, and ensure smaller posts have both the resources and the guidance to work on designations.

Double the budget for the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) and ensure it can increase staffing and skill levels.

Make data around sanctions enforcement more transparent, including a breakdown of assets frozen and fines handed out under each separate sanctions regime.

Synchronise reporting obligations so that both the OFSI and the NCA receive information about suspected sanctions breaches.

Introduce a proactive reporting requirement so that firms must make a positive declaration to the OFSI and the NCA on an annual or biannual basis that they have complied with their sanctions obligations and have no knowledge or reasonable suspicion of any breach.

Review whether the introduction of a conspiracy offence in relation to sanctions evasion would enable better criminal enforcement, and provide greater clarity about when criminal prosecution, rather than civil penalties, are considered in response to a sanctions breach.

Establish a high level independent advisory panel to advise the Foreign Secretary about the consistency and application of the sanctions regime.

Devote substantial investment to build up capacity in the sanctions units of the FCDO with a specific focus on developing long-term specialist expertise, particularly legal and forensic accounting skills.

Ensure there is more regular and robust oversight of the use of sanctions, particularly in light of new powers under the Economic Crime Act, whether through the creation of a specialist Sanctions sub-committee under the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), or the creation of a tripartite Sanctions Committee including the FAC, the Treasury Select Committee and the Home Affairs Committee.

Reform of the AML supervisory regime

Reform, consolidate, and standardise AML supervision and ensure that professional enablers in the legal and accountancy sectors are more effectively subject to criminal investigation and prosecution. This should be comprehensively addressed in the second Economic Crime Bill.

Create a specialist unit in the NCA to target professional enablers, looking at how firms across the regulated sector can more effectively be prosecuted for failure to disclose offences under Section 330 of the Proceeds of Crime Act, criminal breaches of the Money Laundering Regulations, and more serious money laundering offences under Proceeds of Crime Act.

Economic crime enforcement resourcing

Double key law enforcement annual budgets from £852 million to £1.7 billion to tackle economic crime.

Create a central economic crime fighting fund, based on the principle that money generated from law enforcement’s economic crime activity should be reinvested in law enforcement bodies on top of core budgets, on a sustainable, long-term basis (where it is not assigned for victim compensation).

Legislate to ensure costs protection in civil recovery proceedings where law enforcement bodies have acted reasonably and properly.

Allow law enforcement bodies to raise salaries within their budgets so that they can attract the best and the brightest.

Tier 1 (Investor) visas

Commit to publishing the full review into Tier 1 (Investor) visas as soon as possible and by early April 2022 at the latest.

Set out how it will deal with people with corrupt or criminal sources of wealth who have already received indefinite leave to remain through the golden visa route.

Publish any assessment it has made of the various loopholes that continued in the golden visa route since 2015 and the risks posed to national security.

Set out what steps it will take to build its institutional capacity to stop those with corrupt or criminal sources of wealth being granted residency or citizenship through any replacement or revised investor visa scheme.

Political donations

Give the Electoral Commission the powers and resources to ascertain whether the source of a donation poses a national security risk or whether they do not meet a ‘fit and proper’ test; and powers to give an order requiring a donation to be refused, returned, prohibiting the acceptance of donations from the donor, or other measures.

Require political parties to develop and publish proportionate, risk-based policies for identifying the true source of donations and for managing donation