Estate agents must be aware of money laundering

Covid-19 restrictions make due diligence difficult in property sales and purchases.

As the UK housing market slowly returns to normal, the risk of money laundering to real estate has not diminished. In fact, there is a strong argument that the sector is more susceptible to money laundering than ever before.

As Covid-19 restrictions took hold, the usual routes used by criminals to dispose of large sums of cash disappeared. Cash-intense business such as casinos were forced to close, while the physical transportation of money across borders became near impossible. With such tight restrictions in place, it is not surprising that money launderers should look to the disposal of their assets as a means of both realising cash and recovering financial losses suffered by their ‘businesses’.

Property acquired with illicit funds several years ago might now be considered the perfect asset to free up capital, while those looking to dispose of criminal proceeds could consider the UK housing market – especially the prime markets of central London – an ideal investment opportunity.

Read the full article by Jerry Walters, Managing Director at FCS, on Property Week