21 March 2017
The Laundromat case saw the involvement of a number of companies established in the UK. Information at the time indicated that the bank accounts involved were almost entirely held in non-UK jurisdictions, and that the money therefore generally did not move through the UK’s financial system.
The ‘Laundromat’ reflects a typology where money launderers establish a company in one jurisdiction, but its bank accounts are opened in another. The launderers exploit the distance and legal barriers between the two, whilst being able to control both the company and the bank accounts either directly or indirectly. Such companies often have no physical presence or actual business in their country of incorporation – a brass plate company.
Investigating potential international money laundering is a complex matter, particularly where it is not possible to establish a criminal source (such as drug supply, human trafficking or corruption) for the funds. The ability to establish the source of the funds is largely dependent on cooperation from the jurisdiction in which the funds originate.
The NCA remains willing to consider any formal request for assistance from the Moldovan authorities in connection with their investigation, and will consider whether information provided by the Guardian or other media sources would allow the progression of an investigation.