A report, published in October by The Independent and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, revealed that Millfield School in Somerset is alleged to have unwittingly received payment of school fees from foreign criminals.
The allegations were made by police in Moldova who were investigating one of Europe’s largest money-laundering operations. It is not clear whether other schools in the UK have been targeted.
Although there is no allegation of any wrongdoing on Millfield’s part, the report highlights the importance of independent schools taking steps to confirm the identity of whoever is paying school fees and where the money to pay them originated.
As many schools increasingly admit pupils from around the world, care should be taken when accepting money from countries where there is a high risk of money laundering.
First published in Funding for Independent Schools (online) January 2015.