Money Laundering

Being accused of involvement in money laundering can be very worrying and confusing, with the potential for a long prison sentence if you are convicted. Our experienced money laundering defence solicitors have extensive expertise in handling these types of complex cases, so can give you the best possible defence from the point of arrest onwards.

In many cases, we are able to help our clients to avoid charges or secure charges being dropped. Where charges cannot be avoided, we can build the strongest possible defence case for you, helping you to secure an acquittal or minimise the legal consequences where this is the best available outcome.

When arrested, you will be offered legal representation by whichever duty solicitor is available. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to have specific experience and expertise in relation to money laundering offences, so it is strongly recommended to have a specialist money laundering defence lawyer handle your case instead.  

You should never answer any police questions without a solicitor present.

Any mistakes made during a police interview can be very hard to recover from, so we urge you to consider contacting our money launder solicitors as soon as possible.

Our criminal defence lawyers speak a wide range of languages, so can offer effective representation for people from all backgrounds, right from the police interview stage through to prosecution and appeals.

For a free initial consultation on your legal position and the available options, contact our local offices in LondonBirmingham or Manchester.

If you have been arrested for or charged with money laundering, you can contact us 24 hours a day, seven days a week for immediate advice and representation.

Our expertise with money laundering charges

We have over 40 years’ experience defending clients accused of money laundering, having achieved positive outcomes for our clients in relation to the most high-value and complex charges. We can represent you at every stage of proceedings, from arrest right through to trial and appeals where required, giving you the strongest possible defence.

Our criminal defence team includes a number of accredited police station representatives, so can provide instant advice and representation 24/7 if you are arrested on suspicion of money laundering.

We regularly represent clients in both the Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court and have strong relationships with some of the country’s leading criminal defence barristers, so can ensure you have the very best representation however your case progresses.

We are accredited by the Law Society for Criminal Litigation and have also achieved Lexcel accreditation, reflecting the high standards of our legal practice.

Common questions about money laundering offences

What is money laundering?

Money laundering is an offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The offence involves taking actions to disguise the proceeds of crime, making them appear to come from a legitimate source.

There are various methods used in money laundering.   To be convicted of a money laundering offence it will need to be shown that:

  1. You undertook an action in relation to funds or assets (such as concealing them, disguising them, transferring them or converting them into something else).
  2. You knew or suspected that the funds or assets represented the proceeds of a person’s criminal conduct.

It is also an offence to enter into or become concerned in an arrangement which you know or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of property derived from criminal conduct (and which you knew or suspected derived from criminal conduct).

You do not need to have directly carried out inherently criminal activity to be charged in connection with money laundering; you merely need to have been involved in an action or actions that contributed to a money laundering scheme. So, for example, you could be charged if you bought or sold a property as part of the scheme, even though buying and selling property is perfectly legal in and of itself.

There are particular rules that apply to organisations that deal in cash such as Money Services Bureaux.  Those rules are complex and are easily breached.

Money laundering is a triable either way offence, meaning it can be tried in either a Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court.

What are the penalties for money laundering?

The sentence on conviction for money laundering will depend on two factors:

  1. The financial value of the money and/or other assets involved in the offence.
  2. The role the defendant is considered to have taken in the offence.

The potential sentence for money laundering can range from a fine up to 14 years’ custody.

For a category 1 money laundering offence (involving £10 million or more) the sentencing range is 3-13 years’ custody.

For a category 2 money laundering offence (involving £2 million-£10 million) the sentencing range is 2-9 years’ custody.

For a category 3 money laundering offence (involving £500,000-£2 million) the sentencing range is 18 months’ to 8 years’ custody.

For a category 4 money laundering offence (involving £100,000-£500,000) the sentencing range is 26 weeks’ to 6 years’ custody.

For a category 5 money laundering offence (involving £10,000-£100,000) the sentencing range is a medium level community order to 4 years’ custody.

For a category 6 money laundering offence (involving less than £10,000) the sentencing range is a fine of 75-125% of your weekly income to 2 years’ custody.

Can you be prosecuted if you didn’t know you were involved in money laundering?

Many money laundering schemes are highly sophisticated, using a range of professionals such as accountants, estate agents and lawyers as part of their operation. In many cases, people become involved in money laundering schemes unwittingly as a result of exploitation of their legitimate services by criminals. Unfortunately, these unwitting participants will often face charges when a money laundering is uncovered.

If you are charged with assisting with a money laundering scheme, proving that you were unaware of the criminal activity taking place can often secure the dropping of charges.

Where it is considered that you became unwittingly involved in a money laundering scheme due to negligence on your part, e.g. failing to carry out required anti-money laundering checks, you may still face regulatory proceedings, so specialist legal advice is still essential.

What are my rights when arrested on suspicion of money laundering?

If you are arrested for or charged with money laundering, knowing your rights is essential. This can help to ensure you do not say or do anything to unintentionally undermine your defence.

When arrested for money laundering, please remember:

  • The arresting officer must tell you what specific offence you are being arrested for
  • You do not have to answer any questions you are asked
  • You should never answer police questions without a solicitor present

When arrested for money laundering, the police are required to caution you with the following words:

“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court.  Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

Following a police interview for money laundering, you may be:

  • Charged with a specific offence
  • Released under investigation
  • Release with no further action

If you are charged with a money laundering offence, you will either be released on bail or remanded in custody to await trial.

Contact our money laundering lawyers now

For urgent specialist advice, immediate police station representation or to speak to us confidentially about a charge of money laundering or any other criminal matter, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact a member of our dedicated team of criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

Brent & Camden London Office: 020 7624 7771

Manchester Office: 0161 835 1638

Birmingham Office: 0121 614 3333

City of London: 0207 624 7771 – our senior Solicitors and Partners can meet by appointment in the City.

Or email:

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

24/7 legal representation for money laundering charges

For immediate representation and advice, you can contact our Emergency Number: 07836 577 556, and we will provide you with the urgent assistance you need.


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