A business owned by a former estate agent who operated both businesses out of careworn offices has been fined a record £23m for breaching money laundering laws.
Luton-based money transfer firm MT Global was handed HMRC ‘s biggest ever fine – three times the last biggest fine of £7.8m, given to a money service bureau in London in 2019.
MT Global racked up the huge bill for failing to carry out risk assessments, having the correct policies, controls and procedures, conducting due diligence, and record keeping.
Director, Canadian Mazhar Hussain (pictured), was formerly an estate agent running Global Estates and Lettings Ltd (pictured, above), as well as a travel agency, both in Luton and dissolved in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
His current company, MT Global, might struggle to pay the £23,828,092 fine however, as its most recent accounts recorded net assets of £154,000. The firm could not be reached for comment.
HMRC has published its latest list of businesses handed fines in 2020 for breaching strict regulations aimed at preventing criminals from laundering illicit cash, also naming Landmark Sales & Lettings Limited in Reading for failing to conduct due diligence and timing of verification. The agent was given a £5,250 fine.
Nick Sharp, deputy director at HMRC’s fraud investigation service, says: “Money laundering is not a victimless crime. Criminals use laundered cash to fund serious organised crime, from drug importation to child sexual exploitation, human trafficking and even terrorism.
“We’re here to help businesses protect themselves from those who would prey on their services. That includes taking action against the minority who fail to meet their legal obligations under the regulations as this record fine clearly shows.”