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Estate agents hit with ‘secret’ money-laundering fines – NAEA

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  • 22/01/2018
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Estate agents hit with ‘secret’ money-laundering fines – NAEA
Estate agents that fall short of anti-money laundering rules are hit with “substantial” fines but details of the penalties are not made public, according to the chief of an estate agent trade body.

 

Agents are required to carry out checks on buyers and sellers under the Money Laundering Regulations.

Businesses that are found to breach the regulation are issued with hefty fines, according to Mark Hayward, chief executive of National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) Propertymark.

He said: “All estate agents must be registered with HMRC for anti-money laundering purposes and are required to adhere to its systems and procedures.

“HMRC is making spot and random checks among agents, and failure to comply with anti-money laundering regulations will result in substantial fines.

“Due to the remit within which HMRC operates, it is currently unable to make public the names of those who have been fined, and the value of such fines.”

Estate agents are typically unregulated, which means anyone can set up a business.

This can make the firms a target for criminal activity, according to Hayward.

An HMRC spokesperson said: “HMRC takes failure to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations extremely seriously, and we carry out regular checks to ensure customers are correctly following the rules.

“Last year alone these checks led to us issuing more than 880 penalties, which totalled £1,143,000, to all sectors – including Estate Agency Businesses – for failing to comply with the rules.”

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