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Corruption activists say UK crime agency should investigate estate agency in Filat case

Company that took £390,000 advanced rent for London flat from son of jailed former Moldovan Prime Minister should be quizzed, says Global Witness.

Nigel Lewis

Leading global anti-corruption organisation Global Witness has called on the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to investigate an estate agency that took an advance rental payment of £390,000 from the son of disgraced former Moldovan Prime Minister Vladimir Filat.

Last week it was revealed that his son 22-year-old Vlad Luca Filat, who has been studying in the UK since 2016, paid the huge sum as advance rent on his £7,000-a -week Knightsbridge flat on Cadogan Square (pictured) via an unnamed central London estate agency.

It is this extravagant lifestyle, which included buying a £200,000 Bentley from a Mayfair dealership after he arrived in London, which brought him to the NCA’s attention.

“The National Crime Agency should now be asking the bank, the university, the estate agent, and the car dealer what checks they made on this suspicious spender,” says Global Witness’s Senior Campaigner Ava Lee.

Accounts frozen

Vlad Luca Filat has now been ordered to hand over £466,321 after a City of London judge was persuaded that his wealth had been generated by his father’s illegal activities, and granted the NCA forfeiture orders on his three UK bank accounts, which have been frozen since May.

Changes to the UK’s legislation are due to be enacted that will require letting agencies that facilitate rent payments of more than £10,000 a month to be covered by anti-money laundering regulations.

The call by Global Witness to investigate the estate agency involved with the Filat case coincides with ongoing attempts by HMRC to persuade more agents to file a greater number of suspicious activity reports about potential money laundering clients.

For guidance on Anti Money Laundering regulations and compliance, click here.

February 11, 2019

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