It is a defense to the money laundering offenses if the relevant person makes an authorized disclosure by submitting a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) to the National Crime Agency (NCA), reporting suspected money laundering and requesting consent to execute the transaction, and the NCA grants consent or does not respond.1

The SAR must be submitted before the transaction commences.  If the transaction has commenced, the person must have had no knowledge or suspicion of money laundering when the act was started, and the disclosure must be made as soon as practicable after relevant knowledge or suspicion was acquired.2

Once the SAR is submitted, the NCA has seven working days in which to respond.  If the NCA grants consent (or does not respond within seven working days) then no offense will have been committed.  Alternatively, the NCA may refuse consent for 31 days (the moratorium period), which may be extended with approval by the Crown Court.3

This defense is distinct from the reporting requirements imposed on regulated firms, discussed further here.

 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA), c. 29, §§ 336, 338 (UK).

2 POCA § 338.

3 POCA § 336A.

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