NEWSBYTE HM Revenue & Customs has fined online estate agent Purplebricks more than £260,000 for violating anti-money-laundering (AML) rules.

HMRC said that Purplebricks had been found guilty of “failures in having the correct policies, controls and procedures, conducting due diligence and timing of verification”.

The fine relates to activities in 2018 and there is no right of appeal.

Under 2017 regulations, estate agents are required to ensure that customers are not laundering money by selling properties through their businesses. This means they have to carry out detailed financial checks on clients.

“Money laundering funds serious and organised crime and costs the UK economy billions of pounds every year,” said HMRC.

“We’re here to support businesses in protecting themselves from criminals who would prey on their services. That also means taking action against the minority who fail to meet their legal obligations under the regulations and in doing so invite abuse.”

Purplebricks responded by saying it has carried out a full review and improvement of its internal compliance procedures.

  • According to a report in the FT this week, regulators worldwide imposed bigger fines for AML failures in the first half of 2020 than they did in all of last year.

Financial services consultancy Duff & Phelps found that AML fines in the first six months of the year totalled $706 million, compared with $444 million in the whole of 2019.

The rise has partly been attributed to a greater number of enforcement actions, particularly in Europe, rather than a sudden spike in financial crime.

Customer due diligence remains the most frequently punished failing, said the report.

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