Andrew Montlake urges brokers to halt London money laundering

Ryan Bembridge

July 18, 2016

andrew montlake

Coreco director Andrew Montlake (pictured) has urged brokers to “follow procedures to the letter” to avoid facilitating money laundering in London.

Friday’s Home Affairs Select Committee report from MPs said London is “a centre for money laundering” due to “totally inadequate” supervision of the property market.

Montlake, whose brokerage Coreco deals with high net worth clients in the capital, reckoned cash buyers are largely responsible for money laundering but urged brokers to be vigilance to stop foul play in its tracks.

He said: “Compliance regimes within networks and most brokerages are very tight. They make sure to check everyone’s passport, address and where the deposit is coming from.

“Brokers need to make sure they follow the rules set down by their networks or their compliance officers and if in any doubt make sure they report it straight to their relevant compliance offers.

“If you are a professional money launderer and you know how to play the system it’s quite difficult to prevent, but all brokers can do is follow procedures to the letter.

“I think a lot of it is through cash buyers rather than people getting mortgages – mortgage brokers and lenders are clued up on money laundering.”

The committee of MPs, chaired by Labour backbencher Keith Vaz, put the amount being laundered through the UK every year at £100bn, as just 335 out of 1.2 million property transactions were deemed suspicious last year.

Vaz said: “London is a centre for money laundering, and its standing as a global financial centre is dependent on proactively and effectively tackling money laundering.

“Investment in London properties is a major route which tarnishes the image of the capital.

“Supervision of the property market is totally inadequate, and poor enforcement has laid out a welcome mat for launderers and organised criminals.”

The committee of MPs told estate agents and other services to use the Suspicious Activity Reporting regime system and undertake appropriate due diligence when taking on new clients.

However it found the reporting system ELMER to be “not fit for purpose” since it has to deal with more than 19 times the number of cases it was designed for.

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