There is a general defence to the money laundering offences if an authorised disclosure is made of your knowledge or suspicions and appropriate consent is granted to continue with the matter:

  • either before the alleged offender does the prohibited act (e.g. before the suspicious money has been transferred from the client account)
  • while it is occurring, but as soon as you become suspicious
  • after it has occurred, if you had good reason for not disclosing earlier and made the disclosure as soon as practicable

Reporting chain

In such cases, support staff should report concerns to the firm’s MLRO or other designated person who will then decide whether or not to make an external report about your suspicion to the NCA.

The NCA will consider the designated person’s report and notify him or her of whether the firm has consent to proceed with the matter. If they conclude that the matter can proceed, the consent provides a defence to the firm and those working on the matter if it subsequently turns out to involve proceeds of crime.

The MLRO or other designated person will advise the person who reported to him or her what to do whilst waiting to hear from the NCA, along with when and how to proceed once the NCA responds.