The former chairman of an industry group who provided anti-money laundering advice and training to lawmakers and financial regulators has been sentenced for offences related to money laundering.
Dominic Thorncroft faced one charge of failing to alert the authorities to money laundering, one of breaching money laundering regulations and four charges of retaining a wrongful credit.
Thorncroft, former chairman of the Association of UK Payment Institutions, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, by a crown court in London. He was also ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work.
Specialist prosecutor Stephane Pendered said: “Dominic Thorncroft did not commit the fraud himself. However, his actions have allowed £850,000 defrauded from 60 individuals to be dispersed across the world.” The sum equates to $1.18m or €995,000.
She added: “Thorncroft promoted himself as an anti-money laundering expert but failed to live up to the standards he set for others, so when his business was clearly being used to launder criminal property, he failed to follow his own advice and report what was happening to the authorities.”
According to Britain’s CPS prosecution service an investigation by London-based Metropolitan Police began in 2016 found evidence linking Thorncroft to an investment fraud which took place in 2014. He had allowed his Money Service Bureau business to be used by the fraudsters to transfer money to Hong Kong and China.
The CPS and the police were able to prove that Thorncroft should have known or suspected that the money passing through his business’s bank accounts was criminal property, the CPS said
“Despite his substantial knowledge and expertise of money laundering, Thorncroft failed to alert the authorities to the suspicious activity and allowed it to continue,” it added.
Thorncroft’s legal representative Kevin Baumber told the court his offending was “characterised by incompetence not deliberation” and he did not have “a guilty mind or sinister motives”, the Financial Times reported.
The presiding judge said it should have been obvious to him that his company was being used to launder money even though the fraud had been sophisticated and well executed. Thorncroft did not benefit financially from the offences, he added.
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