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Purplebricks given largest ever AML fine for an estate agency

The hybrid's sloppy compliance procedures are slammed by HMRC who have given the agency a larger fine than even Countrywide's £215,000 AML penalty of last year.

Nigel Lewis

purplebricks money laundering

Purplebricks has been given a £266,973 fine by HM Revenue & Customers for breaches of money laundering rules, the largest ever given to a UK estate agency.

This follows the £215,000 fine given to Countrywide in March last year for similar offences.

Purplebricks has issued a statement saying the breaches took place in 2018 and that it has reviewed its processes since then and “improved our compliance procedures”.

The company is one of ten to have their fines published by HMRC for the period 1st August 2019 to 31st January 2020 although it received by far the largest. Laxmi Jewellers, which received the next biggest fine, received a penalty of £23,142.

Purplebricks is the only stock market listed company on the list which includes mostly small accountancy firms, a car dealer and several firms that help set up trusts and companies for clients.

Breaches

An HMRC statement says that: “These breaches [by Purplebricks] are failures in having the correct policies, controls and procedures, conducting due diligence and timing of verification.”

As a supervisor of the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017, which came into effect on 26 June 2017, HMRC has a duty to publish details of businesses that do not comply with the regulations and are registered with HMRC for anti-money laundering supervision.

An HMRC spokesperson says: “Money laundering funds serious and organised crime and costs the UK economy billions of pounds every year. The money-laundering regulations are a vital line of defence against that.”

August 18, 2020

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