Latest News

Easing of lockdown restrictions in Wales

29 May 2020

First Minister Mark Drakeford has today announced the latest parameters for movement in Wales. The announcement focused on allowing some social interaction but was clear that the priority is physically limiting spread. Read More...

Property sector moves into Phase One in Scotland

28 May 2020

The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has said that the conditions are there to allow Scotland to move into Phase One of its four-phase route-map out of the Coronavirus crisis from 28 May 2020. Read More...

Post pandemic plan: Managing annual leave

28 May 2020

With businesses in England looking to reopen, and those in other parts of the UK still under lockdown, agency managers may struggle to balance the annual leave needs of staff with keeping the business running both now and when offices are reopened. Read More...

Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act in force

28 May 2020

The Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020 received Royal Assent on Tuesday 26 May 2020 and the law came into force on 27 May 2020. The legislation has been introduced to work alongside the provisions contained in the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act, which received Royal Assent on 6 April. Read More...

Pearson VUE test centres now open for Propertymark Qualifications exams in England

28 May 2020

Pearson VUE test centres have now opened with limited capacity allowing Propertymark Qualifications candidates to sit their exams. There are strict health and safety measures in place to ensure everyone's safety including reduced seat numbers so that social distancing can be followed. Read More...

Employers must contribute to extended furlough scheme from August

27 May 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has laid out how he expects to move businesses off the Coronavirus job Retention Scheme, meaning that some agencies must begin to start part-paying salaries for furloughed staff. Read More...

NCA investigation secures Unexplained Wealth Orders on £80m London homes

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Three Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) have been secured on £80 million worth of London homes held by offshore companies which have been frozen by the High Court.

This is second-ever use of anti-corruption orders to stop foreigners laundering cash in the UK in which the National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators are looking into the funds used to purchase the properties.

Interim Freezing Orders held on the homes means that they cannot be sold or given a new owner until the investigation is over.

If the suspect - known as a "politically exposed person" (PEP) - cannot explain the source of the wealth, the NCA can ask the High Court to order the homes' seizure.

The rules for British PEPs were extended under 4MLD where agents are required to apply Enhanced Due Diligence on them. PEPs are individuals that are entrusted with prominent public functions (senior political figures or their immediate family and close associates), held in the UK or abroad.

There is no central database for checking PEPs however, information is available in the public domain (internet searches, websites etc).

UWOs are an anti-financial crime power targeted at foreign government officials and their families from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who are believed to have laundered stolen money through British property.

The measure aims to target people who have committed huge frauds and embezzlements abroad where there is little or no chance of obtaining the evidence to convict them in a British court.

The first ever UWO was used against two London properties believed to belong to jailed banker, JahangirHajiyeva and his wife Zamira Hajiyev who lives in a £12 million London home and owns a Berkshire golf course.

Andy Lewis, Head of Asset Denial at the NCA, said: “This is the second time the NCA has successfully secured UWOs since the new legislation was enacted. They are a powerful tool in being able to investigate illicit finance flowing into the UK and discourage it happening in the first place.

“The individuals behind these offshore companies now have to explain how the three properties were obtained.

“The NCA will not shy away from complex and detailed investigations against high profile individuals and professional enablers.”

Graeme Biggar, Director General of the National Economic Crime Centre said: “The purchase of prime property in London is a tactic used to launder money and we will use all the powers available to us to target those who try to do this. 

“A priority for the NECC is to ensure we explore every opportunity to deny assets linked to illicit finance. Our aim is to prevent misuse of the UK’s financial structures which undermines the integrity of the UK’s economy and institutions.”

Propertymark resources

Ignorance is no defence; you’re expected to know the law and there can be huge fines or even a prison sentence if you fail to comply.

NAEA Propertymark's Anti-Money Laundering Regulations page is a one-stop-shop for agents which provides valuable information and shows what roadshows, events, guides and much more are available.

NAEA Propertymark’s AML – How to comply guide, available to members, will help people get to grips with their responsibilities. To take a look at the guide and other resources, members can login to the members area.