The real estate boom sometimes attracts and hides dubious capital. Criminal networks, increasingly complex and internationalized, seek, in fact, to recycle and reintegrate into the legal economy, dirty money by investing, to do so, in various sectors of activity including real estate. This is why the General Directorate for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) and Tracfin, the unit for the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism which depends on the Ministry of economy and finance, released on November 6, 2018, new guidelines to remind professionals in the sector of their obligations in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism (AML / CFT).
Transposition of the 4th directive of the European Parliament and of the European Council (of 20 May 2015), this document, by its explanatory nature, aims to help all players in the sector (all real estate intermediaries including trustees co-ownership) involved in transaction and property management operations to better assess, detect, manage and report any suspicion of dirty money laundering or terrorist financing. These suspicions can, for example, arise in the face of transactions involving the purchase of real estate by people who obviously do not have the necessary funds and who work on behalf of a third party seeking to conceal the fraudulent origin of the funds allocated. Purchases via a “taxi account” passing funds from tax havens are also situations that should alert and give rise to reporting. Faced with these maneuvers, real estate professionals are invited to be more vigilant and to understand their role in AML / CFT which requires good coordination between players in the sector on the one hand and with public control structures on the other hand.
MORE PRECISE REPORTS
While the number of suspicious transaction reports has increased in recent years (from 84 in 2016 to 178 in 2017), this result seems, according to Tracfin’s 2016 activity report, to be out of step with the volume of real estate business carried out during this period. growth in the sector, particularly in Ile-de-France and in the Sud-Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region. These reports are also, essentially, the fact of professional networks organized much more than of independent real estate agencies. In addition, the quality of the reports could be enhanced by real estate professionals who “have a significant amount of information (identity document, proof of address, financial package, etc.) capable of shedding light on the legality of the information. operations ”. To report these doubtful cases,
INFORMATION / TRAINING
It remains to continue the work of awareness, information and training of professionals in the sector. CCIs in France who, since July 1, 2015, issue professional cards for real estate agents and “real estate agency staff” certificates can contribute to this. Required for the renewal of their professional card to be an obligation of continuous training since January 2017, real estate professionals could seize this opportunity to increase their skills in the management of risky situations in terms of dirty money laundering and financing. terrorism.