Money Laundering Lawyers, and Escrow: The Case for Voluntary Due Diligence

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As highlighted in the Joint 60 Minutes – Global Witness expose entitled Lowering the Bar announced in 2016, lawyers are beginning to recognize money laundering and the manipulation of beneficial owners as major issues confronting them. An investigation by Grievance Committee was carried out, not to focus on sanctioning lawyers but more on unresolved issues. They are most issues that are related to lawyers’ roles in the financial systems and the absence of specific obligations to guide against the violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Knowing that an escrow account is a conduit for money laundering, lawyers are advised to voluntarily enact due diligence over escrow deposits.