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UK Treasury Committee launches financial crime inquiry

The influential U.K. Treasury Committee launched an inquiry into the scale of money laundering and terrorist financing in the country.

"Given the threats that face the U.K., the effectiveness of the regimes that we use to protect our financial system from misuse have never been more important," Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Committee and Member of Parliament said in a March 29 statement.

The U.K. property market in particular has become a "destination of choice for laundering the proceeds of overseas crime and corruption," Morgan said, adding that one estimate by Transparency International suggested that up to £4.4 billion of property in the U.K had been bought with "suspicious wealth".

The inquiry will also examine the current regulatory and legislative environment and study the impact that they have had on individuals, firms and the economy at large. It will also look into the effectiveness of financial institutions in fighting economic crime against consumers, including fraud and scams.

"As online banking and payments have become more prevalent, there are now more opportunities for fraudulent activity. The ONS [Office for National Statistics] has estimated that there were 3.2 million fraud incidents for the year ending September 2017," Morgan said. "As millions of customers are exposed to the risk of economic crime, we'll scrutinize the response of the Treasury, its associated bodies and the regulators, and explore the role that consumer education can play."

The committee will collect submissions for the inquiry until May 8.