Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Through the Real Estate Sector

Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Through the Real Estate Sector

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The general objective of this report is to develop more information on how the real estate activity can be used for money laundering or terrorist financing.

The study aims to accomplish two primary goals: First, it explores the means by which illicit money is channelled through the real-estate sector to be integrated into the legal economy. Second, it identifies some of the control points that could assist in combating this phenomenon. One of the most effective ways to understand how the sector is abused is to examine concrete case studies; therefore, the report is based primarily on information provided by participating FATF and non-FATF members.

Several characteristics of the real estate sector make it attractive for potential misuse by money launderers or terrorist financiers. The report outlines the reasons for this. From the case examples provided during the research for this project, several basic techniques were identified, such as the use of complex loans or credit finance, the use of non-financial professionals, the use of corporate vehicles and so on. The report briefly describes these techniques, followed by one or more most striking case examples. To reach out to the private sector, part of the research has been to develop a basic list of risk indicators from the case examples. These indicators may assist financial institutions and others involved in certain types of real estate activities in customer due diligence and in performing a risk analyses on new and existing clients.