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(1)A person commits an offence if each of the following three conditions is satisfied.
(2)The first condition is that he—
(a)knows or suspects, or
(b)has reasonable grounds for knowing or suspecting,
that another person has committed [F2or attempted to commit] an offence under any of sections 15 to 18.
(3)The second condition is that the information or other matter—
(a)on which his knowledge or suspicion is based, or
(b)which gives reasonable grounds for such knowledge or suspicion,
came to him in the course of a business in the regulated sector.
(4)The third condition is that he does not disclose the information or other matter to a constable or a nominated officer as soon as is practicable after it comes to him.
(5)But a person does not commit an offence under this section if—
(a)he has a reasonable excuse for not disclosing the information or other matter;
(c)subsection (5A) applies to him.]
[F5(5A)This subsection applies to a person if—
(a)the person is employed by, or is in partnership with, a professional legal adviser or relevant professional adviser to provide the adviser with assistance or support,
(b)the information or other matter comes to the person in connection with the provision of such assistance or support, and
(c)the information or other matter came to the adviser in privileged circumstances.]
(6)In deciding whether a person committed an offence under this section the court must consider whether he followed any relevant guidance which was at the time concerned—
(a)issued by a supervisory authority or any other appropriate body,
(b)approved by the Treasury, and
(c)published in a manner it approved as appropriate in its opinion to bring the guidance to the attention of persons likely to be affected by it.
(7)A disclosure to a nominated officer is a disclosure which—
(a)is made to a person nominated by the alleged offender’s employer to receive disclosures under this section, and
(b)is made in the course of the alleged offender’s employment and in accordance with the procedure established by the employer for the purpose.
(8)Information or other matter comes to a professional legal adviser [F6or relevant professional adviser] in privileged circumstances if it is communicated or given to him—
(a)by (or by a representative of) a client of his in connection with the giving by the adviser of legal advice to the client,
(b)by (or by a representative of) a person seeking legal advice from the adviser, or
(c)by a person in connection with legal proceedings or contemplated legal proceedings.
(9)But subsection (8) does not apply to information or other matter which is communicated or given with a view to furthering a criminal purpose.
(10)Schedule 3A has effect for the purpose of determining what is—
(a)a business in the regulated sector;
(b)a supervisory authority.
(11)For the purposes of subsection (2) a person is to be taken to have committed an offence there mentioned if—
(a)he has taken an action or been in possession of a thing, and
(b)he would have committed the offence if he had been in the United Kingdom at the time when he took the action or was in possession of the thing.
(12)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—
(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to a fine or to both;
(b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both.
(13)An appropriate body is any body which regulates or is representative of any trade, profession, business or employment carried on by the alleged offender.
(14)The reference to a constable includes a reference to a [F7member of the staff of the Serious Organised Crime Agency] authorised for the purposes of this section by the Director General of [F8that Agency].
[F9(15)In this section “relevant professional adviser” means an accountant, auditor or tax adviser who is a member of a professional body which is established for accountants, auditors or tax advisers (as the case may be) and which makes provision for—
(a)testing the competence of those seeking admission to membership of such a body as a condition for such admission; and
(b)imposing and maintaining professional and ethical standards for its members, as well as imposing sanctions for non-compliance with those standards.]]
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