Case to answer: R v Rogers — implications for practitioners

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Speed read: Jonathan Fisher QC has written an article published in this months’ (May) edition of the Money Laundering Bulletin. The Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) decided in R v Rogers [2014] EWCA Crim 1680 that a UK court has jurisdiction to convict a defendant of money laundering in circumstances where all of the conduct constituting the money laundering takes place abroad. Jonathan Fisher QC writes that the decision has significant implications, not fully appreciated, for solicitors, accountants and financial services providers offering professional services from offices abroad. A question arises as to whether the case has been wrongly decided.

Rogers contended before the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) that the Crown Court did not have jurisdiction to try him for a money laundering offence where he had been living and working in Spain, and where the totality of the money laundering conduct with which he was charged had taken place abroad. There was no allegation that Rogers had undertaken any aspect of the money laundering activity in the UK, and the handling of the monies in the Spanish bank accounts had not caused the victims to suffer any additional loss.

The decision of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) in R v Rogers has considerable implications for professionals when providing client services abroad, particularly in cases where arrangements for handling client funds, asset control and management and/or tax planning are involved.

The implications flowing from the Court’s reasoning in R v Rogers lead to a consideration of whether or not the case was correctly decided. There is, I suggest, a strong argument that it was not. The short point is that the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) confused the internationalism of the underlying criminal conduct with the internationalisation of domestic criminal jurisdiction.

Commentary

You can access the article here (paywall)