UK Banks Handed Panama Papers Deadline

Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 5:34 PM

The Financial Conduct Authority has given banks and financial institutions until following week to reveal any links to the leak.

UK Banks Handed Panama Papers Deadline

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has sent a letter to banks and financial institutions in the UK ordering them to check whether they've done business with the law firm Mossack Fonseca, which is at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal.

The leak of financial papers and emails, which were obtained by the German daily newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and passed on to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, was the biggest in history with more than 11.5 million individual files released.

The FCA letter, which was sent to around twenty businesses, instructed institutions to carry out their own investigations into their links to the Panama Papers and report back by next week.

"Beyond April fifteen we'll require updates on any significant issues or relationships identified and a full response, detailing findings, when your investigation is concluded," the letter reads.

It also reminded recipients that any subsidiaries or branches located exterior of Britain are still subject to UK rules and regulations when it comes to monitoring client accounts and researching customers.

The leak is said to indicate that more the five hundred banks across the world have worked with Mossack Fonseca to set up nearly 15.600 shell companies, which could authorize clients to avert tax by hiding their money abroad.

Earlier this week HSBC, Credit Suisse and the Royal Bank of Scotland-owned Coutts Trustees all publicly denied they were using complex offshore structures to assistance their customers commit tax avoidance.

Commenting on the letter, which was written on Tuesday but acquired by the Financial Times on Thursday, the FCA said in a statement that it's working closely with "a no of agencies" to ensure that number wrongdoing has taken place.

"As portion of our responsibility to ensure the integrity of the UK financial markets we require all authorised firms to have systems and controls in space to mitigate the risk that they might be used to commit financial crime," it said.

"We've also today [Tuesday] published our annual Business Map which identifies financial crime and anti-money laundering action as one of our priorities for the year."

The news comes as it's revealed Prime Minister David Cameron to European Council President Herman van Rompuy in two thousand-thirteenth, urging him to differentiate between companies and trusts when drafting anti-money laundering rules.

This is despite warnings that the distinction could create a loophole allowing tax dodgers to continue evading their bills.


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