On 1 May 2018 the NCA published a frequently asked questions document in relation to seeking a defence against money laundering offences (Defence) under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA)
The guidance has been compiled in consultation with various money laundering reporting officers and aims to provide practical cross-sector guidance on good practice in drafting Defence Suspicious Activity Reports (Defence SARs). It comes after a 24 per cent increase in Defence SARs between 2014-15 and 2015-16.
A Defence can be requested from the NCA where a reporter has a suspicion that property they intend to deal with is criminal property, and that by dealing with it they risk committing one of the principal money laundering offences under sections 327-329 POCA (i.e. receiving, dealing with or being concerned in an arrangement in relation to suspected criminal property).
The guidance provides a useful summary of the Defence SAR process and practical pointers on drafting and particular issues that can cause the NCA to close Defence SARs or request further information. We have summarised below four key takeaways.