The social restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic have been a major impediment to financial criminals, who rely on easy access to the financial system to move dirty money. Law enforcement agencies – seeking to make the best of a difficult situation – have been able to take advantage, seizing large amounts of illicit cash that would otherwise have been laundered through the system, or smuggled to high-risk jurisdictions.

Nonetheless, these recent successes - often highlighted in the media - should not detract from the underlying reality that all law enforcement agencies are struggling to reduce the scale and scope of FinCrime. According to most reliable global estimates, no more than 1-2% of illicit funds are ever retrieved by the authorities – an astonishingly low figure.

Our panel of experts will probe into the reasons behind this apparent failure to retrieve funds and bring financial criminals to justice, exploring systemic weaknesses and vulnerabilities that generate such poor operational outcomes. At the same time, the panel will also explore the potential of new initiatives, such as Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs), to rebalance the playing field, and consider new ways in which the private sector could support the authorities’ campaign against financial criminals.

Host:

• Nick Lewis OBE, Managing Director, Conduct, Financial Crime & Compliance, Standard Chartered Bank

Panellists:

• Aidan Larkin, CEO, Asset Reality

• Carmel King, Director, Insolvency and Asset Recovery, Grant Thornton UK LLP

• Sarah Hargreaves, ACI, ACEDirector of Training - International, Exterro

• Gary Cathcart, NCA Head of Financial Investigation, National Crime Agency

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