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ETSOS Announces New Anti-Money Laundering Verification Services After Estate Agent Fined Nearly £12,000.

22nd March 2013

The OFT on the 25th of January 2013, have fined Leicester based IPS Estate Agents £11,844 for failing to comply with Anti-Money Laundering Regulations. IPS failed to comply with a number of requirements under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 including those relating to:-

  • Verifying the identity of customers
  • Keeping appropriate records
  • Ensuring that relevant staff are aware of the law relating to money laundering and terrorist financing
  • Establishing and maintaining appropriate, risk-sensitive policies and procedures

Kate Pitt, OFT Deputy Director of Anti-Money Laundering said, “This fine sends out a message to all estate agents that they need to have appropriate measures in place to prevent their business from being used for money laundering or terrorist financing purposes.”

Phil Natusch, ETSOS Managing Director comments “It is clear that after some years the OFT are now clamping down on estate agency firms who fail to comply with the money laundering regulations. That’s why we have partnered with SmartSearch the UK’s leading supplier of Electronic Anti-Money Laundering Verification. ETSOS users will now be able to gain immediate PASS/REFER results for clients without the need of traditional documents such as passports, driving licenses and utility bills. The SmartSearch reports will also assist firms in identifying Politically Exposed Persons and name matches on the HM Treasury Sanctions lists, ensuring compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations”.

The SmartSearch reports are fully integrated into the ETSOS platform and allow firms to quickly and cost effectively verify the identities of their clients, saving time for the firm and also for the client.

Martin Cheek, Managing Director of SmartSearch commented “After nearly 6 years since the Money Laundering Regulation 2007 came into force, this is the first fine for failure to comply by the OFT and is a clear signal that estate agents need to understand their obligation under the Money Laundering Regulations. SmartSearch Electronic Verification is a fast, cost effective method of verifying the identity of clients. We are pleased to be working with ETSOS, as this will allow estate agents to access the SmartSearch reports through the ETSOS platform”.

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