GIBRALTAR is clamping down hard on estate agents that sell properties using dirty cash in a drive to stamp out money laundering and terrorist financing.
The Rock’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) updated its guidance for real estate companies after issuing eight fines of up to £11,500.
It is now processing another six fines that could rise to £15,000 for those that do not meet the obligations of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2015 and Sanctions Act 2019.
The tougher approach follows international criticism of Gibraltar’s approach to crooked investors.
The OFT provides a 41-page document on property sellers’ responsibilities under Gibraltar’s relevant money laundering and sanctions laws.
Real estate agents have to carry out risk assessments of their own businesses’ attractiveness to money launderers.
They have to appoint a money laundering officer who understands the risks and can screen potential property buyers for sanctions or financial crimes.
“The OFT therefore strongly encourages all real estate agents to read the new guidance carefully and to become acquainted with their legal obligations,” the government office said in a statement.
“The OFT also wishes to remind business that more guidance is also available on the OFT’s website and that it is open to feedback from the sector about any specific guidance it may require.”
Although the Rock is no longer considered a tax haven, it is an easy target for crooked foreign investors who wish to pump money into off-plan developments.
Property prices in Gibraltar have continued to rise throughout the years with a one-bedroom flat fetching as much as £300,000.
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