Tighter money laundering rules planned

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Wealthy people who fall under suspicion of criminal activity will have to explain before any charges how they came by their assets under a new anti-money laundering initiative announced by the British government on Thursday.

The plans will also increase the responsibility of businesses to report suspicious financial activity and introduce a criminal offense of illicit enrichment — targeting public officials who exploit their power.

Investigators will be able to designate a company as being “of concern in relation to money laundering”, a move that would force banks, law firms and accountants to use special measures when doing business with them.

The move is the latest in a series of steps the government has taken in the past year to beef up transparency and law enforcement powers in Britain’s financial system.

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