The number of estate agents filing suspicious activity reports has increased by 30 percent over the past 12 months but still only represents a tiny minority of the total number submitted, it has been revealed.
Speaking at last week’s NAEA Propertymark conference in London, the government’s Director for Economic Crime, Cyber Crime and Corruption Richard Riley (pictured, below) revealed that estate agents filed 710 Suspicious Activity Reports or SARs last year, an improvement on previous efforts but representing just 0.15% of the national total.
Riley also admitted that such a huge volume of SARs being submitted each year meant the system overall was ‘creaking’ but that a review was in place and serious investment planned to ‘completely transform the regime’.
He also revealed that the property industry can expect more government action on money laundering and that he wanted to see the ‘full power of the state’ including law enforcement agencies, regulators as well as the private sector brought to bear on the ‘dirty money’ problem.
“We need to know more about the dynamics and the pressures on estate agents, lawyers, accountants and other professionals and their priorities,” he said.
Riley also said estate agents should expect to see greater efforts by government to help the property industry, banks and accounts share information more easily in order to spot money laundering and other criminal activity.
Riley was brought in to speak at the NAEA event after Ben Wallace, the Minister of State for Security at The Home Office, was called to parliament at short notice to participate in a vote.
For more on SARs and how to protect your business from money launderers, click here.