The ICAEW and HMRC have together unveiled a new educational drama film that portrays the downfall of an accountant, trusted business advisor and failing restaurateur as they become embroiled in a money laundering plot with links to human trafficking.
The film, entitled ‘All Too Familiar’, aims to show how businesses and people can “easily fall victim to financial crime and enable criminals involved in money laundering, human trafficking, modern slavery and terrorism, to thrive”.
The 16-minute drama, produced by ICAEW in collaboration with HMRC, shows how an accountancy firm could be manipulated into assisting money launderers and explores whether trust and relationships can “cloud professional judgement and inhibit the fight against economic crime”.
The film was written and produced by Duncan Wiggetts, CEO of ICAEW’s Professional Standards Department, and was launched at a screening at Chartered Accountants’ Hall earlier this week.
It has been designed to help accountancy firms consider more carefully how they may be exposed to clients engaging in money laundering and how they might identify red flags. It also aims to “provoke discussion around the need for greater professional scepticism in relation to the take-on of new clients and unexplained changes in the business of existing clients”.
As a training resource, the film will be available for free in the UK for organisations supervised by ICAEW and HMRC.
Duncan Wiggetts, CEO, ICAEW Professional Standards Department said: “We’ve made this film to make ICAEW firms and members more aware how easy it can be to become inadvertent professional enablers of economic crime which may have both financial and a terrible human cost.
“We hope that the messages in All Too Familiar will last long in the memory of all those who watch it and that they remember what happens to the accountants in the film if they are ever tempted in the future not to challenge or question unusual developments at new or existing clients. We’re determined to challenge mindsets so professional advisers don’t miss the vital red flags that can devastate lives and livelihoods.”
Simon York, director of Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Money laundering supports a raft of harmful crimes that have a devastating effect on victims, communities and economies. So, preventing and tackling it is vital.
“Both the public and private sectors have a key role to play in this and I am delighted that HMRC has been able to partner with our fellow anti-money laundering supervisor, ICAEW, to produce this film.”
He added: “If this film saves one person from being trafficked, prevents one corrupt official stealing money from their country’s citizens or stops one international crime group being able to steal UK tax it will have served its purpose.”