Freezing accounts: The law and banks' obligation to follow it

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The biggest problem I see is having private entities (banks) making the decisions and taking action against their clients without being ordered by a judge. I don’t know how this is allowed to happen in the UK, US and some other countries

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Several reasons.

A judge cant tell your using your account for fraudulent activities, the bank can. The bank has an obligation to stop and report suspected fraudulent activity. The bank is in the best position to do this.

If a bank just let people use them for fraud and other illegal activities we’d have issues, the whole point is to reduce the ability for criminals to operate easily.

Its also worth noting that as long as there are no obligations to not restrict your banking, banks can refuse to serve you or remove service at any time. So if you’re seen as a high risk and likely being used to push money through the UK for criminals, your accounts going to be frozen.

Basically, if you want to keep your criminal enterprise going, don’t use UK banks. And if your expecting a large sum of money from abroad from your uncle where your not sure where he got the money, maybe let the bank know. And let him know to not use money transfer groups used by criminals to do so.

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The bank provides the evidence and it’s up to a judge to decide what to do, just like the police brings evidence to wiretap someone and a judge has to sign off on it

And yet we shouldn’t sidestep due process.

In other countries banks have to give you at least 30 day notice for you to rescue your funds

Again, I’m astonished how in the UK a bank has the authority to make such decisions…

Would everyone also be ok with the police acting completely independently without the need for search warrants and the like? That’s akin to what banks are not only allowed but mandated to do in the UK…

So if you do break the law you have 30 days to whisk the money away? That sounds incredibly lax.

Would everyone also be OK with the police giving criminals a thirty day head start before trying to catch them? That’s akin to what banks are not only allowed but mandated to do in other countries…:wink:

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This is what they do. Accounts identified as potentially being used for criminal activity are reported to the proper authorities. The bank has an obligation to not allow suspected criminal activity to continue within their banking system.

And that’s the issue.

No, I’m speaking of a bank wanting to end the business relationship for whatever reason. They have to give advance notice. As for suspected criminal activity as I’ve said, the banks report it along with any evidence and it’s up to the courts to order a fund freeze or not.

I’m exactly saying that it’s up to the police and other relevant authorities to deal with it, not the banks. If someone kills a person close to me I’m I allowed to go after the killer and kill him in return so that he doesn’t kill someone else? That’s the kind of nonsense argument in allowing banks to make decisions regarding someone’s patrimony.

It takes time to get a judge. By that stage the money has gone.

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In most countries for important things you can get a judge at any time of the day, so that’s not an excuse and even if indeed it took time, that’s not a justification to sidestep due process.

Additionally, something no one else here seems to consider is that a lot of times it’s more useful to do nothing and see where the money goes

You’re making strawman arguments now which puts you in a worse position. Whats you’re actual argument?

Banks report suspect criminals and freeze the money. Is it possible you don’t know how serious the movement of money is for criminal activity? Or the use of accounts for money laundering and fraud?

You’ve not made much of an argument against this.

Your view seems to be to let people be victims of fraud and lose their money, let criminal launder money, and let people fund terrorists. The money will be gone by the time they try to stop it, but its OK, because we didn’t freeze the criminals bank account…

No one is being sent to prison. You’re mixing up two different things. Freezing someones account is not the same as sending someone to prison without trial.

You can’t get a judge and hearing in the minute it would take to transfer it. Following it through different banks and out of the country won’t help fraud victims

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You need to research the concept of rule of law or Rechtsstaat: “In a Rechtsstaat, the power of the state is limited in order to protect citizens from the arbitrary exercise of authority. The citizens share legally based civil liberties and can use the courts”

Banks freezing funds for what they themselves admit can be false positives is not arbitrary use of authority?

And yet if I’m a fraud victim and I denounce it to the police, the perpetrator won’t have his accounts immediately frozen and the case will go through the court system. I don’t see banks freezing accounts to protect fraud victims as being substantiated

You believe they should wake up a judge 40,000+ times every month (that is a two year old figure, it’s likely much higher now), to make a decision on whether to freeze an account?

It’s just not practical to involve the courts at such an early stage.

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I think you are approaching the UK with a continental European legal theory.

The UK isn’t a constitutional state like other European countries. We do not have a constitution at all limiting the states power. Parliament has the authority to create any law which can remove any previous law. UK law is based on the legal theory of Common Law. The UK state can legislate to create safeguards, but it can also legislate to remove those safeguards easily and legally.

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Under Section 33 of POCA(Procceeds of crime act) It is illegal to notify someone about a SAR
https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/what-we-do/crime-threats/money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing/suspicious-activity-reports

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And yet the courts need to get involved for stuff as wiretapping. The 40000 number includes how many false positives? Without knowing that it’s a meaningless number. You also assume that freezing funds is always the best course of action, when oftentimes in cases of money laundering it’s more useful to follow the money

Really not sure we’re you’re trying to get at. A constitution can also be changed by parliaments and if anything common law is way more restrictive that a constitution by itself will ever be.

The point is simply about allowing arbitrary use of power. When banks freeze funds for what they themselves admit can be false positives, is that not arbitrary use of power? And how can private for profit institutions, not accountable to the general public be allowed to yield power over private property?

No its not, because banks freeze accounts under specific circumstances.

You’re welcome to take your money elsewhere…

In any society laws are needed to combat crime, we’re not talking about black bagging people for no reason, we’re talking about freezing suspected criminal accounts before the money disappears for good.

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Monzo is following the laws set by Parliament in order to stop fraud and money laundering.

There is not checks and balances as we don’t have that specified in law. You could apply for a judicial review, but that will only side with you if there has been an error in law. Obviously you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman too which is the legal way to complain about financial institutions.

The law set by Parliament delegates responsibility to banks to enforce its will. Monzo is carrying out the will of Parliament.

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Those circumstances are kept secret, so as far the the public is concerned it is indeed arbitrary or at the very least unnacountable

How so if it’s frozen?

You’re once again making the false assumption that the best solution is always to freeze funds