Brokers warned about rise in money laundering through real estate

by Julia Corderoy23 Jun 2015
The FBAA has raised the growing issue of dirty money being laundered in the finance industry with the Federal Government, as dangers arise in the mortgage sector. 

The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act was established in 2006 to lead the fight against dirty money, but new findings from government body Austrac has warned of the dangers, particularly in the home loan sector.

According to the Austrac report, criminals like to launder money through real estate because purchases can be made in cash while disguising the ultimate owner.

During discussions in Canberra recently, FBAA chief executive Peter White told the Minister in charge of Counter Terrorism, Michael Keenan, that brokers play a major part identifying suspicious customers.

“The industry should be aware and concerned about these certain criminal elements because they have infiltrated our financial system and washed billions of dollars in dirty money,” he said.

“As brokers, it is our responsibility to ensure everything is above board. Terrorists and criminal gangs must not see us as easy targets.”

White has now called on all brokers to keep a vigilant eye and report suspicious behaviour if they fear something does not feel right when dealing with clients.

“There are many red flags to alert the broker which is why compliance and ongoing educational training is key.”

“All FBAA members are kept up to speed through high-end compliance training when it comes to analysing risk assessment.”

According to the FBAA, figures suggest money laundering through the finance sector is more than a billion dollars a year.