4 OCT 2021
Recent press coverage of the contents of leaked documents known as the Pandora Papers emphasises again the role that property plays in the transfer of money around the world, in ways which could facilitate money laundering or tax evasion.
The ethical practice of RICS members and firms is important in ensuring that criminal activities are not facilitated. In particular the current press coverage is a reminder of the importance of carrying out client due diligence in property transactions, including identifying the beneficial owners of companies and trusts, and identifying and considering the risks that can be posed by politically exposed persons (PEP) because of their positions of influence.
This is often covered by legislation in individual countries, but RICS also provides advice on best practice to members through its professional statement “Countering bribery, corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing”. This includes advice on a risk based approach to client due diligence, beneficial ownership and PEPs. The UK government has also published a risk assessment for estate and lettings agents specifically flagging the key risk factors in the sector.
RICS has also recently provided a free webinar for members and firms on the money laundering regulations in the UK and what firms need to do to comply with them, and key and emerging money laundering risks for the sector. A recording of the webinar is available here.