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UK’s new property register to stop money laundering by oligarchs

The UK’s halting money laundering through property purchases; Australian authorities proposed restrictions on casinos; and Mexico’s FIU investigated an ex-president.

Napier AI
August 5, 2022

This week, the UK government put the brakes on criminals seeking to launder funds through property purchases via agents; Australian authorities proposed spending restrictions on casino patrons; and the Mexican government’s FIU opened a probe into the country’s ex-president for money laundering.

Find out more on these stories below.

UK government’s new property register to halt money laundering by foreign oligarchs

The UK government has instituted a property register which requires foreigners purchasing properties in England, Wales, and Scotland to confirm the true identity of the owner/s. Foreign entities which don’t comply with the new rules face fines of up to £2,500 per day, or as much as five years in prison.

A part of the proposed Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022, initiated amid the waves of sanctions prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the register stipulates the following:

  • Foreign entities currently owning land in the UK have six months to declare their true beneficial owners
  • The ruling applies to any property purchased since January 1999 in Wales and England, and since December 2014 if in Scotland
  • Foreign entities which in future attempt to purchase UK properties must reveal the actual owners of said property
  • Foreign entities that have sold UK property since 28 February 2022 must provide corroboratory evidence to the corporate regulatory body, Companies House

The Business Minister, Lord Callanan, was emphatic in stating that “[government has] been clear that the UK is a place for legitimate business only, and to ensure we are free of corrupt elites with suspicious wealth, we need to know who owns what.”

Read more on this story at BBC.

Australian state-level regulator tightens gambling rules for Crown casino to limit money laundering risks

The government in the Australian state of Victoria has issued 12 recommendations to parliament to reduce money laundering risks and improve consumer protection at Crown Melbourne Casino, the state’s only gambling establishment, located at the heart of its capital.

Among the recommendations were:

  • An AU$1,000 spending limit for individual gamblers within a 24-hour period
  • Patrons who spend or win stakes in excess of AU$1,000 would be required to present ID when placing bets or receiving stakes
  • Crown Melbourne will pay the cost of its regulatory requirements, and prospective investors seeking a stake of more than 5% will have to be vetted by the state’s new gambling regulator

Read more on this story at Gambling News.

Mexican financial authorities investigate former president for alleged money laundering

The Mexican government is probing allegations that the country’s former president, Enrique Peña Nieto, engaged in money laundering via international money transfers. The financial intelligence unit (FIU) of the country’s economic ministry contends that the amounts were in excess of US$1,000,000, which prompted the investigation.

Officials were reticent about providing details of the allegations, with an official announcement stating that “progress in this investigation will allow prosecutions in the coming months.” The allegations raised concerns because the funds in question were transferred via relatives, were made in cash, and the ultimate origins of the money are as yet unknown.

There are further allegations that more than one company linked to Enrique Peña Nieto, who now resides in Madrid, Spain, benefitted unduly from his patronage during his presidential tenure. Allegations of corruption and bribery, including the alleged acceptance of a US$100m bribe from infamous Cartel Boss ‘El Chapo’, have swirled around the ex-president even during his time in office.

Peña Nieto has denied the charges, while the Mexican public has seemingly shown little interest in prosecuting former officials on corruption charges.

Read more on this story at MSN.

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Photo by Gonzalo Facello on Unsplash