HMRC Raid 50 Estate Agents Under Anti-Money Laundering Legislation

HMRC Raid 50 Estate Agents Under Anti-Money Laundering Legislation

HMRC Raid 50 Estate Agents Under Anti-Money Laundering Legislation.  HMRC have revealed that Countrywide Estate Agents are amongst those businesses that have been hit with fines for having not complied with AML legislation in the property industry.

Countrywide have been fined a chunky £215,000 with another well known name, Tepilo (now in administration), hit by a fine of £68,595. It is understood that 50 estate agents, mostly in London but also across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Manchester were visited.

Simon York, Director of our Fraud Investigation Service, said “HMRC is determined to crack down on money laundering and as the supervisor of estate agents under money laundering regulations works closely with the sector to help them tackle this crime”.

The Countrywide and Tepilo fines were levied in the third quarter of last year but only revealed today as part of a list released by HMRC naming agencies and other companies which it says were not complying with the Money Laundering Regulations 2017.

You can read the full list by visiting HMRC here.

HMRC state that Money laundering means exchanging money or assets that were obtained criminally for money or other assets that are ‘clean’. The clean money or assets do not have an obvious link with any criminal activity. Money laundering also includes money that’s used to fund terrorism, however it’s obtained. The regulations apply to a number of different business sectors, including accountants, financial service businesses, estate agents and solicitors.

Every business covered by the regulations must be monitored by a supervisory authority. Some businesses may already be supervised, for example, because they are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Business types supervised by HMRC:

  • Money service businesses not supervised by the Financial Conduct
  • Authority (FCA)
  • High value dealers
  • Trust or company service providers not supervised by the FCA or a professional body
  • Accountancy service providers not supervised by a professional body
  • Estate agency businesses
  • Bill payment service providers not supervised by the FCA
  • Telecommunications, digital and IT payment service providers not supervised by the FCA

You need to register with HMRC if you carry out activities typically associated with these types of organisations by way of business and you are not already registered.  See here for further information on Who needs to register for money laundering supervision.

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