Agents absent from latest list of firms fined over AML – but is this the calm before the storm?

HMRC’s updated listing of businesses that have been penalised for breaching Anti-Money Laundering Regulations shows that no estate agents were fined in the six months to April this year.

But conversations we have had in recent days suggest that this could be the calm before the storm.

As we have previously reported, for the period between August 2018 and the end of last October, HMRC is continuing to list penalties received by five firms, of which three were estate agents and two of those were online firms.

Countrywide was fined £215,000, Tepilo (which went into administration last December) was fined £52,691, and Settled was fined £3,245.

HMRC revealed the Countrywide fine in March, at the same time as announcing a major crackdown on estate agents, with HMRC officers visiting 50 estate agents across England that were suspected of trading without being registered for AML supervision.

Last month Purplebricks revealed in its latest annual report that it is in discussion with HMRC over its AML procedures, warning that there could be a potential cost.

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8 Comments

  1. James Wilson

    Given the amount of money laundering through top end London property it is a national scandal that more buying and selling agents aren’t behind bars.  Take that women from Azerbaijan who was prosecuted under an UWO.  Why the heck weren’t the buying and selling agents who facilitated her property transactions prosecuted?  I hope the Government and police will start getting serious soon.  But until we see someone senior from Savills or Knight Frank in handcuffs I fear the filthy swamp of London property won’t be drained.

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  2. Property Poke In The Eye

    Money Laundering will keep on taking place.   All this AML ******** is just a tax on agents.

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  3. Not Surprised

    The list was last updated on 3 September so not really new news- didn’t PIE report on this before?

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  4. Woodentop

    Any takers that Bricks will get the largest fine ever?

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    1. smile please

      That would be a shame.

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  5. watchdog13

    PIE should report on the complete dogs breakfast that is HMRC’s AML registration system. The online system doesn’t work, they are way behind registering agents and are happy to send out letters admitting they don’t know what’s going on. At the same time they are writing to agents to make sure they are compliant and then doing snap inspections.

    Try getting a straight answer from HMRC on an AML question, you can get two different answers from two different people.

     

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    1. Graham

      You are correct, since September 2017 I have had nothing but hassle with the online HMRC beta process. I did manage to renew but found out a few days ago that my renewal in April this year was not processed! I have now had to mess around re-registering!

      It is just nonsense that estate agents need to do this, the solicitors should be responsible not us. I threw away another £300 this morning for what?

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  6. LetItGo

    I’m sure the Solicitors are the ones that need looking at

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