32% of money laundering alerts involve residential conveyancing

New research has revealed that nearly a third of suspected anti-money laundering infringements reported to the National Crime Agency have involved property deals.

According to Fortytwo Data analysis of Solicitors Regulation Authority figures, 32% of ‘Suspicious Activity Reports’ alerts have concerned residential conveyancing during the last three financial years.

This proportion is the most significant by a considerable margin, with commercial conveyancing at 4% in second place.

The information from the SRA indicates that, generally speaking, approximately two-thirds of wrongdoing cases will be referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

Commenting on the figures was Julian Dixon. The chief executive of Fortytwo Data stated: “These figures are a wake-up call to the legal industry but I’m sure money laundering is vastly under-reported due to the nature of organised crime.

“Solicitors are vulnerable because of the legitimacy their profession provides. For criminals, the vast amount of cash involved in property purchases provides the perfect cover for laundering the proceeds of drugs, terrorism and firearms offences.

“The Solicitors Regulation Authority needs to be congratulated for handing down substantial fines and costs when AML obligations are not met. It is only a strategy like this that will lead to better compliance in the future.”

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