Let me say from the outset that I am fully in favour of leaving money launderers no hiding place but, as usual in the UK, we go over the top in enforcement of the regulations, as borne out by the latest rules applying from December 3, 2001.
No doubt, all the other European countries will agree to tighten up their rules and then some will quietly turn a blind eye.
Thus, we have the situation whereby our regulators apply the rules with all the enthusiasm of the Taliban while, in Majorca and other Mediterranean resorts, they are offloading their funny money at an alarming pace, using suitcases of cash to buy cars and villas prior to the euro coming into force.
Not only do our own rules continue to make the selling process increasingly more difficult but usually the monies are coming from bank or building society accounts that have already been verified for money-laundering purposes. So, again, there is a duplication of effort.
I suppose it stands to reason that as long as we employ an army of civil servants to apply these rules, then they will always have to justify their existence by ever increasing amounts of regulation. Perhaps fingerprinting of clients is next on the agenda?
Still, it is probably nice to know that there are many people still sitting on their patios in Alicante, raising their glasses of champagne and toasting those crazy English.
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