On 26 October 2023, the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act received royal assent. The new law is designed to fight corruption, money laundering and fraud, and has major implications for businesses, including:

  1. The creation of a new “failure to prevent fraud” offence, imposing criminal liability on large organisations for wrongdoing committed by staff, agents and some third parties.
  2. Measures ensuring that businesses can be held criminally liable for the actions of senior managers.
  3. A historic shake-up to Companies House with, inter alia, identification checks soon to be required for company directors and persons with significant control (see McGuireWoods’ previous alert “Companies House Reforms: The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill”). The earliest Companies House reforms are anticipated to come into force in early 2024, with certain measures, such as identity verification, to be implemented later via secondary legislation.
  4. Enhanced powers for law enforcement agents to seize, freeze, recover and convert crypto-assets.