Admittedly, the UK also having the unfortunate reputation of being rather a haven for the “Black economy”, it is up to the collective entities by whom the law is to be adhered to, implemented or enforced, to ensure that it is so implemented and enforced. But how many of those entities and their employees who are tasked with carrying out due diligence checks really understand, implement correctly and practically, these AML Regulations? Can it really be said that the practical application of these regulations is effectively carried out and are commensurate with the test of proportionality in relation to the risks, and more often than not, the lack of it? Apart from the Panama and Paradise papers has one ever heard of a situation where the “real” criminals and terrorists carrying out money laundering activities being arrested, tried and jailed for their atrocities? Yes, there have been revelations of criminal and money laundering activities by certain Russian individuals and mafia like bosses here in the UK, but for each one of the bigger sharks, how many more “ordinary” entrepreneurs and small sized business investors have been subjected to intense financial interrogation and scrutiny even in the very basic, and what used to be simple, process of opening a bank account in order to commence trading? It begs the question if such scrutiny is proportionate, fair and just.
The fundamental principal the judiciary and lawyers adhere to in a criminal trial, which is also guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. This is such a basic principal that it is fair to say it was borne of moral principals and are probably subconsciously applied by pretty much every human being in their day to day lives. But can this be said of the application of the AML Regulations as well? Is not the approach of the persons applying these laws actually based on the converse principal?