UK: 2022 Financial Intelligence Unit Suspicious Activities Report

The NCA has created a new Combatting Kleptocracy Cell to investigate criminal sanctions evasion and high end money laundering. SARs are an important data source coming into the cell and the UKFIU has set up a dedicated team within the unit.

The UKFIU has transformed under the wider SARs reform, establishing new ways of working, new teams, and an uplift in staff to over 150. The development of the new and more user friendly SAR portal is nearly complete.

The past two years have been dominated by new and changing organized crime threats, particularly fraud, against members of the public, UK businesses and Government Departments.

The partnership between the regulated sector, UKFIU and law enforcement has been invaluable in tackling these offenses and ensuring that criminals are denied assets derived from illicit activity.

People and partnerships are at the heart of the UKFIU and this has been the cornerstone of our success during this period of instability.


BANNER Asset Tracing Enfor i-AML


We would like to take this opportunity to thank our teams and partners for their hard work and dedication. The impressive work to protect the public and support the UK’s AML regime are testament to resilience under challenging circumstances.

A new SAR portal and Bulk API technology will be delivered to submit SARs, improving the quality and utility of SARs. The UKFIU will continue to recruit new staff to grow its headcount to reach the target of 201, driving increased analysis and engagement within the SAR regime.

We remain committed to working with our law enforcement, government, and private sector partners to improve the quality of SARs and their exploitation by law enforcement.

SAR – Suspicious Activity Report, which alerts law enforcement that certain client or customer activity is in some way suspicious and might indicate money laundering or terrorist financing.

DAML – Defence against Money Laundering.

DATF – Defence against Terrorist Finance.

Welcome to the UKFIU Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) Annual Report. This report will cover statistics for the years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. The UKFIU quickly and effectively reoriented its operations at the beginning of the pandemic to ensure it was able to deliver on its critical core functions whilst keeping its staff safe. Through flexible work arrangements and moving our engagement functions to a more agile online presence, we ensured we continued to meet the expectations of reporters and law enforcement whilst delivering strong operational results through a backdrop of difficult restrictions placed on the unit.

Stats explained

  • The impressive increase in funds denied reflects a rise in high monetary-value DAML opportunities submitted by reporters, and the increased use of Account Freezing Orders by law enforcement. This LEA activity has been aided by improved DAML quality, the result of enhanced engagement between UKFIU and reporters.
  • The increase in SAR reporting reflects year on year growth; a contributing factor is new SAR reporters in the Fintech and Cryptocurrency sectors.
  • The main driver for the decrease in DAMLs received reflects that reporters are now clear that they do not need to request consent when returning funds to the victim of a crime.

Case studies

A reporter provided DAML SARs related to the owner of a number of businesses. The UKFIU identified these businesses as being of interest to the NCA Criminal Asset Denial Team who were supporting an overseas fraud investigation. The refused DAML requests enabled a restraint order for over £40m. A reporter was concerned that a customer had been the victim of a rogue trader and was paying for work at excessive prices. The victim had paid out over £80,000. The UKFIU fast tracked the SAR to an LEA who immediately visited the home address when the subject and associates were present. All were arrested.


February 8, 2023 Published by The UK NCA National Crime Agency. (Download PDF Report)

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