The Government should authorise changes to prevent money Laundering

Wednesday 11 November 2015  / Ruth Montia

In a bid to battle money-laundering, The NAEA have joined forces with Transparency International to make major modifications to the sales/purchase process as it stands.

Since the Channel 4 documentary ‘From Russia with Cash’, a statement issued by the association says that they want to try to “stop our property market being used to launder corrupt and criminal money and to bring transparency and confidence to the market”

  1. All foreign companies to be as transparent as UK companies over their ultimate beneficial ownership if they wish to hold property titles in the UK;
  2. Estate agents who break the rules and support criminal money laundering should face “meaningful punishment and sanctions”
  3. Support for the property industry to ensure that estate agents adhere to anti-money laundering regulations.
  4. Anti-money laundering checks should be carried out by estate agents on the purchaser, not just the seller, of high-value property;

The government is still yet to publish their plans on this topic, despite making a commitment back in July 2015.

NAEA managing director Mark Hayward has said “The recent documentary From Russia with Cash demonstrated that there is still not absolute clarity in relation to anti-money laundering among those in the property sector, despite the very clear legislation in place and regular training and updates from within the industry. It is now time to step up the level of scrutiny that the sector comes under to ensure that a small minority of agents do not support criminal activity and those that do are appropriately sanctioned“

Nick Maxwell is the Head of Advocacy and Research at Transparency International and has jointly issued the four demands. He comments “The rhetoric from the Prime Minister about stopping the flow of corrupt capital coming into the UK has been very strong, but now is the time for real action. The veil of secrecy over UK property ownership needs to be lifted to ensure the UK is no longer a safe haven for dirty cash and we look forward to working with the Government to this end.”

The two organisations have said that “dirty cash is very likely to be increasing house prices and – ultimately – stopping ordinary, honest people getting into the property market.”

It is yet to be decided about the consequence to those who partake in these types of transactions