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Would your AML practices make the SRA 'raise an eyebrow'?

Roger Sahota asks whether solicitors in the property sector are taking their risk and compliance obligations seriously enough

29 September 2015

In a speech on 7 September 2015, David Green QC, head of the Serious Fraud Office, signalled his intent to go after the ‘enablers’ of economic crime – the lawyers, accountants, and other advisers who are said to help criminals launder money. According to Donald Troon, director of the National Crime Agency, the problem is so widespread that house prices in London have been artificially driven up by overseas criminals who want to sequester their assets here in the UK.

Allegations that solicitors and estate agents are being used by money launderers to facilitate property purchases in London’s booming property market are nothing new. 

Critics, though, point to the poor quality and small number of suspicious activity reports (SARs) made in the property sector. Some 179 SARs were submitted by UK estate agents in 2014. Solicitors and other legal professionals made a total of 3,328 SARS during the same period (compared to over 11,000 in 2006/07)....

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