UK plans levy on banks and others to help tackle money laundering

LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - Britain is expected to announce this week a new levy on banks and other firms regulated for anti-money laundering to raise up to 100 million pounds ($130 million) to tackle dirty money, the government said on Saturday.

London has long attracted corrupt foreign money, especially from Russia, Nigeria, Pakistan, former Soviet states and Asia, and the police estimate that around 100 billion pounds of dirty money is moved through or into Britain each year.

In his first budget on Wednesday, finance minister Rishi Sunak is expected to unveil plans for an Economic Crime Levy to generate cash for new technology for law enforcement and to hire more financial investigators.

The levy is likely to come into force in 2022/23 and the Treasury will consult in the Spring about which firms will be asked to contribute.

"Criminals will have nowhere left to hide their illicit earnings," Sunak said in a statement. "We’re going to put more financial investigators and better technology on the frontline to fight against money laundering."

Last year the government and business leaders agreed an Economic Crime Plan to try to better tackle dirty money with more cash for police to tackle fraudsters and money launderers, and improved information sharing.

($1 = 0.7665 pounds) (Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Nick Zieminski)