UK AML: At least 50 Agents investigated by HMRC in the UK
Countrywide Agents in UK fined £215,000
Although not members of AIPP, Countrywide have received a large fine for alleged non-compliance with UK AML – Anti Money Laundering – regulations. At least 50 estate agencies across England have been visited by HMRC over suspected trading without AML registration, as required by law.
The agents have not been identified but 35 are in London, 5 in Leicester, 4 in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire and 3 are in Greater Manchester. HMRC says it will now take action against the visited businesses who have failed to comply – penalties for agencies can include fines, publication and criminal proceedings.
The director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, has warned: “Estate agents need to understand that criminals prey on weaknesses, so it’s vital they take all steps to protect themselves. The money laundering regulations are key to that, but there’s still a minority of agents who ignore their legal obligations. These inspections are a wake-up call that if you continue to trade illegally we will come knocking.”
How to avoid getting fined by UK HMRC
AIPP has written about the AML issues in the UK several times before with more information and several useful links copied below:
AIPP maintians that, for just a £130 fee, all agent members should register with HMRC – here is the link to do so
To be fair, HMRC did issue (back in January) a useful set of online tools to help agents address the multiple issues AML presents.