Police and Law Soc meet over money laundering

THE NATIONAL Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) has raised the target for the number of lawyers it wants to see reporting clients they suspect of trying to hide the profits of organised crime.

The NCIS has had a private meeting with the Law Society to elicit its help in getting more solicitors to come forward. An NCIS spokeswoman says: “We have figures that represent the number of solicitors that should call us each year.”

She refuses, however, to give details of what the target figures are.

The meeting follows a report in The Lawyer in which Simon Goddard, head of organised and economic crime at NCIS, said police were investigating six City law firms for links with organised crime.

He claimed law firms were laundering profits from drug trafficking, gun running and contract killings.

At the time, a Law Society spokesman said Goddard was “talking out of the back of his head”.

Solicitor Nigel Morris-Cotterill, whose book entitled How not to be a Money Launderer is published this week, blames the Law Society and individual lawyers for the situation.

“Any lawyer who has suspicions should be going straight to the NCIS,” he says.

Roger Ede, secretary of the Law Society's criminal law committee, says of the meeting: “We discussed NCIS's concerns about a low level of reporting by solicitors and how the Law Society can help increase awareness.”

The Law Society receives around 1,000 calls a year from lawyers on the subject.