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New economic crime centre created

18 December 2017

The government recently introduced a whole series of measures it is hoping will make the UK a more hostile environment for criminal gangs and money launderers.

A new national economic crime centre has been created within the National Crime Agency (NCA). Its task will be to coordinate the national response to economic crime, hopefully backed by greater intelligence and analytical capabilities.

New legislation will also allow the NCA to directly task the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to investigate the worst offenders. It was pointed out that the SFO will continue to act as an independent organisation.

Home secretary Amber Rudd said the changes will ensure government agencies have the tools and investment they need to investigate, prosecute and confiscate criminal assets.

In addition the government has published its anti-corruption strategy, which has six priorities:

- reducing the insider threat in high-risk domestic sectors such as borders and ports.
- reducing corruption in public procurement and grants.
- promoting integrity across the public and private sectors.
- strengthening the integrity of the UK as an international financial centre.
- improving the business environment globally.
- working with other countries to combat corruption.
A new anti-corruption champion, John Penrose, has also been appointed.

The government has renewed its commitment to introducing an overseas companies beneficial ownership register. It will mean that overseas companies that own or buy property in the UK, or participate in central government procurement, will be required to provide details of their ultimate owners.

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