Solicitors Regulation Authority reports of money laundering

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) made 26 reports of suspected money laundering by solicitors to the National Crime Agency (NCA) last year, involving more than £200m in possible criminal proceeds.

A further 122 matters are being monitored by the regulator’s money laundering reporting officer (MLRO) to track the progress of ongoing SRA investigations which may uncover money laundering suspicions that require reporting in due course.

The MLRO of the SRA said that in total 266 matters were escalated to her office for review in the year to 31 October 2020, of which just under 10% (26) turned into suspicious activity reports referred to the NCA. The reports came both internally from elsewhere within the SRA and directly from third parties, such as banks, law enforcement and other regulators.

One of the issues identified as a key theme in the reports the SRA made was money laundering linked to vendor fraud where homes are targeted by fraudsters and sold without the knowledge or consent of the true owners.