Money laundering offences under the Proceeds of Crime 2002
Money laundering offences under the Proceeds of Crime 2002

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Money laundering offences under the Proceeds of Crime 2002
  • Money laundering offences—an introduction
  • The principal money laundering offences
  • Mens rea for money laundering—suspicion, conspiracy and attempt
  • Defences to the principal money laundering offences
  • Other money laundering offences
  • Deferred prosecution agreements (DPA) and money laundering
  • Sentences for money laundering
  • Future
  • Directive on criminalising money laundering

Money laundering offences—an introduction

Money laundering is the process by which the proceeds of crime are converted into assets which appear to have a legitimate origin, so that they can be retained permanently or recycled into further criminal enterprises.

Under the pre-existing law there were separate offences for drug money laundering under the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986 and the Drug Trafficking Act 1994. Non-drug offences were covered by the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

Part 7 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA 2002), which came into force on 23 February 2003, updated and reformed the pre-existing money laundering provisions. It created three separate principal money laundering offences under POCA 2002, ss 327, 328 and 329 (see below: The principal money laundering offences) as well as inchoate offences associated with these (aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring or inciting, attempting or conspiring to commit an offence under these sections).

POCA 2002 also created other offences relating to the prejudicing of an investigation. For further information, see below: Other money laundering offences and Practice Notes: Money laundering offences—failure to disclose offences and Money laundering offences—tipping off and prejudicing an investigation.

All the offences under POCA 2002, Pt 7 are collectively known as 'money laundering offences' but only the three principal offences involve criminal property being laundered or cleaned. The other offences seek