Handling financial crime investigations
Handling financial crime investigations

The following Practice Compliance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Handling financial crime investigations
  • Responsibility
  • Mitigating the risk
  • In the event of a financial crime investigation
  • Who is involved in financial crime investigations?
  • What is enforcement action?
  • On receipt of an order or notice
  • In the event of a search warrant
  • During the course of an investigation
  • Timescales
  • More...

You should have processes whereby staff must report to your nominated officer any knowledge or suspicion of:

  1. money laundering

  2. mortgage fraud

  3. fraud

  4. tax evasion

  5. bribery

  6. corruption, and

  7. terrorist financing

See further Mitigating the risk below. The nominated officer is then under a legal obligation in certain circumstances to report that knowledge or suspicion to the National Crime Agency (NCA) through a suspicious activity report (SAR).

The NCA allocates those SARs to trained financial crime investigation officers for further investigation. Intelligence from SARs may then be disseminated by the NCA to other law enforcement or government agencies (LEAs), which may need further information.

Where additional information is required by LEAs following a SAR, it will generally be obtained through enforcement action (usually a production order).

This Practice Note provides guidance on handling financial crime investigations and considers related issues such as client confidentiality, legal professional privilege and whether a production order automatically leads to suspicion.


You should be clear about who is responsible for coordinating financial crime investigations within the firm. The nominated officer is likely to be the LEA’s first port of call and main point of contact throughout engagement with your firm.

Mitigating the risk

Before taking steps to reduce the risk of your firm being used for criminal purposes (and therefore being involved in a financial crime investigation) you should undertake detailed risk assessments to determine the possibility of

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