The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has reminded estate agents and certain types of consumer credit lenders (known as CCFIs) that they must register under anti-money laundering regulations before 31 January 2010 to avoid breaking the law.
Carrying on business having failed to do so could lead to an OFT fine, a prison sentence, or both.
Consumer Credit Financial Institutions (CCFIs) are organisations involved in consumer credit lending activity not FSA authorised or supervised by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as a money service business.
Money laundering controls help prevent legitimate businesses being used to launder money, which is where cash or assets obtained by criminal activities are exchanged for clean money or assets with no obvious link to their criminal origins.
John Parker, OFT director of anti-money laundering, said: “The consequences for estate agents and consumer credit financial institutions of not registering under anti-money laundering regulations are severe. It is important that businesses register immediately to avoid breaking the law.”””