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Real Estate Agents Required to Prevent Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing

Due DiligenceReal Estate Agents Required to Prevent Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing

Real estate agents must conduct due diligence checks on clients to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, according to the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA). These measures involve a checklist and “suspicious indicators” that include client behavior. Clients’ details are cross-referenced against international databases, including leaked documents like the Panama Papers.

Following the arrest of 10 foreign nationals for forgery and money laundering, CNA interviewed property agents and analysts. Around SGD 1 billion (USD 736 million) in assets has been seized. 105 properties worth about SGD 831 million, including Sentosa Cove properties, are linked to one of Singapore’s largest money laundering and forgery investigations.

Agents are required to identify and verify clients’ identities and assess their risk of money laundering involvement. The CEA lists behavioral indicators, such as hesitant clients and transactions significantly deviating from market values. Failure to comply can lead to significant financial penalties or suspension/revocation of an agent’s registration.

Property agents use various measures to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing, including due diligence forms and mobile apps to check clients’ names against databases. Suspicious indicators include requests for kickbacks on property purchases. Agents play a crucial role in preventing criminal activities in the real estate sector.

By FCCT Editorial Team

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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