Research by Credas Technologies, the leading identity verification provider, has found that while there has been an annual reduction of 21% in the number of Defence Against Money Laundering reports (DAMLs) made to the National Crime Agency, the level of funds being denied as a result has grown by a huge 121% in a single year.
DAMLs form part of a SAR, or Suspicious Activity Report, which alerts the authorities that a customer’s activity is in some way suspicious. A SAR can either be in relation to money laundering (DAML) or terrorist financing (DATF).
In 2021-22, there were a total of 901,255 SAR submissions in the UK. This is 21% more than in 2020-21 and a notable 94% jump when compared to 2017-18.
However, while the number of SARs has been on the increase steadily over the last five years, the level of DAMLs being submitted has fallen over the last year.
Last year (2021-22), 83,300 DAMLs were received by the National Crime Agency, some 21% fewer compared to the previous year (2020-21).
The 105,107 DAMLs received in 2020-21 did mark a five year peak and while this figure has fallen in the last year, it remains some 34% higher when compared to the pre-pandemic benchmark.
But while the volume of DAMLs received may have reduced, the total funds being denied as a result has increased.
In fact, during the first year of the pandemic (2020-21) the total level of funds denied as a result of DAMLs sat at £138.6m, marking a 19% year on year drop versus pre-pandemic levels.
In 2021-22 this figure has surged to £305.7m, a year on year increase of 121%.
The figures suggest that while the frequency of suspicious activity in relation to money laundering may have reduced, those that are attempting this illicit activity are doing so to a far greater extent.
Tim Barnett, CEO of Credas Technologies, said, “The property sector is one of the most susceptible to the illicit practice of money laundering and so those within the industry will be glad to see that there has been a reduction in the level of suspicious activity being flagged via DAMLs.
However, the sharp increase in the level of funds being denied suggests that those who are risking it are doing so to a far larger degree. So while it may be less prevalent it only takes one criminal to slip through the net for you to find yourself in all sorts of trouble and the more severe the case, the more severe the penalty.”
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