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Legal threat to FSA over cash-laundering claims

A Belfast IFA is threatening to sue the FSA after it announced it was preventing the firm from conducting any business over money-laundering concerns.

The firm, Northern Ireland Insurance Brokers, of 147 Stranmillis Road, Belfast, has been banned from carrying out any form of regulated activities because of an investigation into £8m which the FSA says app-ears to have been laundered through the firm.

But NIIB denies the allegations and says it is pursuing legal action against the FSA.

A letter has been sent from the firm&#39s solicitors to the regulator accusing it of libellous behaviour.

The firm, which is owned by a father and son both named Michael Aiken, has not been charged criminally in the matter although the Police Service of Northern Ireland says it is investigating and expects to lay charges.

The FSA claims suspicions initially arose because NIIB actively assisted clients in using false addresses in their dealings with life offices and handled client money of more than £1.2m without appropriate authorisation.

A spokesman for the IFA says: “We strongly deny the allegation made by the FSA. We can also confirm that our solicitors have sent a letter to the regulator stating the allegations contained within its press release are entirely without foundation and libellous against NIIB and its directors.”

FSA spokeswoman Louise Buckley says: “We are not deterred by the threat of legal action. We stand by our initial statement.”

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