UK fines real estate agents for AML lapses
Friday, April 4, 2014 at 7:38AM
Julie DiMauro in HM Revenue & Customs, Hastings International UK Limited, Jackson Grundy, Jeffrey Ross, Kate Pitt, Money Laundering Regulations 2007, Office of Fair Trading

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) fined three real-estate agents a total of £246,665 ($408,000) for "significant and widespread" anti-money laundering lapses last week.

Hastings International UK Limited based in South London was assessed a £47,966 ($80,000) fine, Jackson Grundy based in Northampton was fined £169,652 ($281,000), and Jeffrey Ross of Cardiff was fined £29,000 ($48,000).

The OFT said the three firms failed to apply adequate customer due-diligence measures or continued monitoring of business relationships as mandated by the UK's 2007 Money Laundering Regulations.

The regulations are designed to prevent businesses from being used for money laundering or terrorist financing purposes.

The rules require regulated businesses to apply risk-sensitive policies and procedures on the verification of customer identity, record-keeping, training staff and reporting suspicious activity to the National Crime Agency, among other obligations.

The OFT cited these compliance-oversight lapses in its assessment of penalties against Hastings International, Grundy, and Ross:

Kate Pitt, OFT Deputy Director of Anti-Money Laundering, said: "The Money Laundering Regulations are designed to detect, deter and disrupt financial crime. We fined these three estate agents as they were failing to comply fully with the regulations, and so were more vulnerable to money laundering or terrorist financing activity."

The fines are the last action in this area by the OFT. On March 31, the OFT's anti-money laundering powers and responsibilities passed to HM Revenue & Customs.

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Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.

Article originally appeared on The FCPA Blog (https://www.fcpablog.com/).
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