The Office of Fair Trading has warned businesses that they face enforcement action if they do not improve their compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations. The warning followed an OFT investigation into non-compliance with the regulations, which uncovered 213 unregistered estate agents in England, Scotland and Wales.
The OFT, which is responsible for regulating estate agents and consumer credit financial institutions for anti-money laundering purposes, imposed a £2,000 penalty on one estate agent for failure to register after being contacted. The other 212 agents registered after the OFT contacted them. The organisation carried another study looking at the registration of estate agents in Northern Ireland and found low levels of compliance. Firms had problems verifying customer identity and implementing policies and procedures designed to reduce the risk of agencies used for money laundering, the OFT said.
Mario Tsavellas, director of anti-money laundering at the OFT, said:
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