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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The State begins to eat itself

I do not often post about specific bits of government legislation as it makes for awfully dry subject matter but I am unable to resist publishing this example of incandescent lunacy.

A year ago or so I wrote an extensive piece for the Libertarian Alliance about the nature, scope and effects of the UK Money Laundering laws (soon to be codified in the Proceeds of Crime Act).

One of the offences specified is that of ‘Tipping-Off’. If a banker/lawyer/ financial adviser suspects a client of money laundering then he is obliged to report the matter to a responsible officer within the firm who must then decide whether or not to make a report to the National Criminal Intelligence Service. All this must be done in secret because the client must not be told that he is under suspicion (in case he flees the jurisdiction). To spill the beans is to commit the offence of ‘Tipping-Off’ (maximum sentence 2 years in prison).

Well, as if destroying the principle of client confidentiality and trust is not bad enough we all now have to contend with Section 29 of the Data Protection Act 1998 which requires all companies to disclose all internal memoranda to their clients upon demand, even those voicing suspicions of money laundering and, hence, tipping them off!!

One law now forces lawyers/bankers/accountants to break another law!! How long can it be before one is liable for prosecution just for turning up at work in the morning?

Do we have a Government or do we just have a Random Regulation Generating Machine up there?

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