Taxi firm register aims to cut out organised crime

MINISTERS plan to introduce a register of reputable taxi and private hire companies, in a bid to prevent criminals from laundering money.

Justice secretary Kenny Mac-Askill is announcing the scheme today at a summit to discuss the threat that serious organised crime gangs pose to the trade.

Membership of the taxi accreditation scheme assures potential customers that the firm is not a front for money laundering, drug dealing and other serious criminal activities.

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Mr MacAskill said: "The fact is that many of Scotland's criminal gangs use - or try to use - respectable businesses as a front for serious criminal activity.

"We want to protect the integrity of the taxi and private hire car trade. We want to ensure only legitimate firms get business, whether it be through contacts with the public or private sector, or from individuals."