UK-based law firm Taylor Vinters LLP, regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), was recently investigated for its violations of AML regulations. As a result, the firm will now pay a financial penalty of £19,200 (USD 25,000). The firm will also pay the cost of the investigation of £5,800 (USD 7,400).
Since October 2014, the firm has acted in 161 cases for 88 clients, all overseas nationals purchasing property in London. For as many as 43 of these clients, the firm had not conducted the required customer due diligence before receiving funds into the accounts. This was against the legal and regulatory obligations under the AML law. Moreover, the firm had itself classified many of these instances as being at a high risk of money-laundering. This means that the firm should have conducted enhanced customer due diligence and continuously monitored the unverified accounts.
The firm did attempt to mitigate the aftermath of its AML failures by retrospectively finishing customer due diligence and ensuring that such failures do not happen again. The firm also readily assisted the SRA during the investigation. Based on the charges and the firm’s assistance SRA’s investigation, the SRA found the financial penalty of £19,200 to be apt.