Hong Kong, 9 October 2018: Boase Cohen & Collins lawyers have been briefed on strengthened guidelines drawn up by the Law Society of Hong Kong aimed at further protecting legal professionals from the activities of money launderers.
The amended rules emphasise a mandatory requirement for improved due diligence with regard to clients and their sources of money, together with the need for stringent record-keeping and adequate staff awareness and training.
“It is a growing trend globally that criminals are looking for alternatives to banks and financial institutions for illicit financial operations and law firms could be among their targets,” said BC&C Senior Partner Colin Cohen, whose core practice areas include criminal proceedings and complex corporate crime.
“Typical exploitation of legal services may include misuse of client accounts, purchase of property, creation and management of trusts and companies, managing client affairs and making introductions, undertaking certain litigation, and setting up and managing charities. In all these matters, legal professionals can be essential to a transaction and their unwitting co-operation gives it respectability.
“It is therefore essential that all our lawyers are fully aware of the precautions that need to be taken and that we as a firm follow the mandatory requirements laid down by the Law Society.”
The Law Society issued its amended guidelines after the government implemented tougher anti-money laundering legislation last March. Solicitors, together with accounting professionals, estate agents and trust or company service providers, are now required by law to carry out customer due diligence and maintain records of their dealings.
Lawyers from BC&C and its associate firm Charltons were briefed by renowned legal consultant Judith Sihombing in two sessions at Charltons’ offices. Ms Sihombing lectures in law and conducts bespoke training and continuing professional development seminars for the legal community.