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Under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, there is an onus on commercial property surveyors to report and reduce the levels of money laundering in the UK, and specifically London, unfortunately known as ‘the money laundering capital of the world’. According to the Home Affairs Select Committee (a group of leading cross-party MPs) the UK property market has become a safe haven for those looking to legitimise the proceeds of crime, due to its high values and poor supervision and enforcement.
The key areas of offence are: failing to report, tipping off and assisting. These are policed by HMRC, and potential repercussions include unlimited fines and varying jail sentences, depending on the magnitude and level of involvement. Property companies must have adequate training and procedures in place to prevent money laundering, and appoint a Money Laundering Officer to whom any suspicions are raised.
The RICS is focusing heavily on money laundering regulations, as well as emphasising the importance of prevention to its members with updated guidance notes and information papers. The UK government published an action plan to take a stand against money laundering, which promised more robust law enforcement, reform of regulations and greater international cooperation. Money laundering isn’t just a UK issue and will need to be tackled with a globally united front.
This news was brought to you by Morgan Pryce, a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.