Beware of clients on frozen asset list, solicitors told

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Sep 04, 2017
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The Treasury is collecting names of firms holding funds for clients whose assets have been frozen

Chris Harris for The Times 

Law firms holding funds for clients listed on a government roll-call of frozen assets to be published later today have been told to report themselves to the Treasury.

Officials at the profession’s watchdog issued a statement on Friday highlighting the frozen asset review and calling on solicitors to ensure that their client accounts are clean.

“Solicitors are being asked to make sure they are not helping anyone with dubious funding streams,” Crispin Passmore, a director at the Solicitors Regulation Authority, said.

He told legal practices that the risk of becoming a “professional enabler” is a threat “for every single solicitor and law firm, whether conveyancing on the high street or handling global transactions, and each should be thinking about their responsibilities for tackling these issues”.

The authority has urged all law firms to study the frozen asset review. “If a client is listed and you hold any of their assets, make a report as necessary,” Passmore said. “The publication of this list, the new financial sanctions regulations and the approaching Financial Action Task Force inspection are further reminders of the importance the UK and global community places on tackling terrorist financing."

Checks needs to be made by October 13, with reports sent to the Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation.

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