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UK lawyers not complying with client identification regulations: research group

[JURIST] Business research firm TM Group [corporate website] released a report [press release] on Friday saying that the majority of UK lawyers are using client identification methods which do not comply with the county's anti-money-laundering regulations. According to the report, 65% of those polled reported using only visual checks of identification, a method not endorsed by the country's 2007 Money Laundering Regulations [PDF text]. The majority of those polled also said they believed the regulations to be unnecessary, but had been trained in the methods they recommended.

As a sign of increasing concerns over money laundering, even some Swiss banks who are well known for strong privacy protections have recently released information on certain clients. In 2006, the Swiss Justice Ministry [official website] granted US investigators access to information [JURIST report] about bank accounts of terrorism suspects. Prosecutors in the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] requested the information in a four-year old investigation into money laundering to support terrorist activities. The same year, the Swiss Supreme Court denied a Russian request [JURIST report] for the transfer of bank documents to Russia [JURIST news archive] which were relevant to an ongoing investigation into Russian oil giant Yukos [corporate website; JURIST news archive].

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