•British Prime Minister Johnson
In a renewed battle against money laundering, the British government will this week place its radar over bank and social media accounts of international students in the United Kingdom.
The fight, to be led by UK’s National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), followed revelations that the overseas students, complicit or not, were targeted and used as ‘money mules’ to launder funds through UK accounts.
According to NECC via the National Crime Agency Twitter handle, @NCA_UK, investigations had shown the tendency for international students to earn quick money by allowing someone use their bank account to move money, especially in the weeks preceding Christmas.
Lending credence to its target, NECC noted that in a UK law enforcement coordinated by the National Economic Crime Centre, earlier this year, most of 95 bank accounts containing more than £3 million belonged to international students studying in the UK.
“Letting someone use your bank account to move money is money laundering is the message to students in the weeks before Christmas when it might seem an easy way to earn money.
“The NECC is now targeting students through social media over the next week as they head back home for the Christmas break.
“Earlier this year, 95 bank accounts – containing more than £3 million – were frozen by UK law enforcement coordinated by the National Economic Crime Centre.
“Access to the money was denied and investigations were undertaken because it was suspected that some or all of them were linked to money laundering.
“To date approximately £1 million of this money has been forfeited following court hearings.
“The majority of the accounts frozen belonged to international students studying in the UK.
Showing resolve to tackle money laundering, NECC’s Head of Operations, Matt Bradford added that banks were also empowered to track money laundering and report to the police for criminal proceedings to commence.
“Allowing someone to use your bank account for a cut may seem like an easy way to earn some money over Christmas and New Year but it has consequences.