What is money laundering?
Money laundering is the process used by criminals to transfer proceeds of crime into legitimate parts of the economy at the same time as disguising their illegal origin.
Why are clients required to prove their identity?
Since 1994, when the UK government introduced the Money Laundering Regulations, any firm involved in financial services, including solicitors, have been required to have procedures in place to prevent money laundering. Criminals often use other identities to buy goods, financial services, open a bank account or transfer funds. They may even try to use your identity. That is why all organisations involved in financial services are required by law to check on their clients’ identities. This applies to all such organisations and all their clients, even those who have had longstanding association together.
What kind of identification is required?
The identification required is one piece of documentation that verifies your identity (e.g. passport or photo drivers licence) and one that verifies your address (e.g. a recent bill). For our records, we will take copies of the information you provide and you will only be required to show this evidence to us once, unless your name or address changes.
If it is not possible to verify a client’s identity, we are prohibited by law to provide services to that client and the penalties for doing so are substantial.