Half of all superprime agents breaking AML law, says shocking new report
Posted Thursday 17 December 2020 - 17:09pm by Trust Audit
The government has revealed that half of
estate agents advertising properties for sale for £5 million or more last year
had not registered for money laundering or had failed to pay their annual fees,
in direct contravention of the law.
HM Treasury and the Home
Office say action is now ongoing against these businesses, while also
criticising agents who are registered for money laundering for not always
having sufficient training in place for staff.
“Reports like today will
increase focus on our sector and damage trust in agents, that is why it is so
important that we are playing our role in stamping out money laundering from
the housing market,” says Mark Hayward, Propertymark’s Chief Policy Adviser.
“It is shocking to see that
some estate agents, especially in the top end of the market, have failed to
register with HMRC on AML.
“This in itself is a criminal
offence, and we urge all members to adopt the correct policies and procedures.”
The comments are within the
government’s latest assessment of the dangers faced within the UK from money
Three years ago the property
market was assessed as having a medium risk score but has now been raised to
high, while both sales and letting agents have now been given medium risk
score, having previously been low.
Over the past 12 months estate agents submitted 861 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), a 21% increase on the previous year.
“Property purchases remain an
attractive method to launder illicit funds due to the large amounts that can be
moved and the low levels of transparency of ownership or source of funds,” the
latest National Risk Assessment says.
“The publication of the report today
fires a warning shot to estate and letting agents that the perceived level of in the sector risk is
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