Money laundering is a major problem within the property sector and London has a particularly bad reputation as a haven for dirty money. That is why the recent Criminal Finances Bill’s introduction of the ‘unexplained wealth order’ comes as no surprise.
The Serious Fraud Office, HM Revenue and Customs and other agencies will be able to apply to the High Court for an order forcing the owner of an asset to explain how they obtained the funds to purchase it. Hundreds of British properties suspected of belonging to corrupt politicians, tax evaders and criminals could be seized by enforcement agencies under tough new laws.
It is clear that the property industry needs to start taking proactive steps to minimise the risk of money laundering activity. Estate Agents want to protect, indeed enhance, their reputation in the highly competitive property market. Forward-thinking firms are introducing best practice fraud reduction and due diligence solutions, in recognition that proactive efforts to reduce fraudulent and money laundering activity will improve their market reputation.
At Contego we help forward-thinking firms to comply with Money Laundering regulation and 'Right to Rent' legislation. If you would like further information about how we can help your business with compliance, get in touch with Contego today by phone:
The orders will apply to property and other assets worth more than £100,000. If the owner fails to demonstrate that a home or piece of jewellery was acquired using legal sources of income, agencies will be able to seize it. The law targets not just criminals, but politicians and public officials, known as “politically exposed persons”. Depending on how quickly it passes through parliament, the bill could come into force as early as spring 2017.