The City minister has stressed money laundering is too big and too global a problem to be tackled by the UK on its own.
Answering an urgent question raised in the House of Commons, Simon Kirby said: “Domestic changes alone aren’t enough in a world of global criminal networks, and that’s why we are working closely with our international partners to stand up to this threat together.”
He also defended the UK’s banking industry, commenting of those in the sector “the vast majority of those work hard, do a good job”.
The comments come off the back of an investigation by the Guardian, which alleged 17 UK-based banks processed almost $740m (£593.9m) in laundered Russian money between 2010 and 2014.
Several of the gathered MPs slammed Kirby for seeming to show “complacency” over the allegations, although the City minister denied this was the case.
In particular, Labour MP Rushanara Ali asked why the chancellor was not answering questions instead, given the answers from Kirby, who it was earlier this month revealed had been stripped of his responsibilities for overseeing Brexit, had been “appalling”.
Kirby said he “had been doing [his] very best” to respond to the MPs’ queries.
The dirty money story broke less than a week after the Treasury announced it would be launching a new government office – the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision – to lead the way on a crackdown on money laundering.
Meanwhile, the criminal finances bills is currently making its way through the House of Lords so could shortly be passed into law.
Today Kirby said the government was going to do “what it takes” to prevent wrongdoers from abusing the UK’s financial system.