|The American Government has urged Great Britain to amend its gambling laws and draw up new rules to monitor bank customers with links to foreign regimes as part of a drive to crack down on money laundering.|
The recommendations came in a report presented to the US Congress that called on the UK to change the Gambling Act 2005 to bring in new checks against criminal proceeds being laundered through gaming. It also wants the UK to institute new rules monitoring transactions made by ‘politically exposed persons’ with links to foreign Governments.
The US State Department’s annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report named Britain among one of more than 50 ‘major money laundering countries’ alongside nations such as Afghanistan, Colombia and Russia and cited figures from Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency that estimated around $30 million may be laundered through the UK each year. It highlighted Britain’s role as a leading financial centre as being part of its attraction for money launderers and, although it praised High Street banks for tightening controls against money laundering, suggested that criminals were turning increasingly to card fraud or ‘purchasing high-value assets’ in order to process their proceeds.
'As a Christian church and charity, the Salvation Army has vigorously opposed the normalisation of gambling associated with the Gambling Act 2005,” Tim Stone of the Salvation Army told The Scotsman newspaper last week.
'The opening of bookmakers' on Good Friday, a most sacred day for Christians, is extremely disappointing. We are not killjoys but we would have preferred Good Friday to remain gambling-free.'