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Last updated on 14 May 2024

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Real Estate Money Laundering

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1 December 2023

Real Estate Money Laundering

This report discusses the money laundering risks associated with the real estate sector in the UAE. It addresses the main money laundering (ML) concerns regarding the source of funds utilized in the real estate sector in the UAE, whether the source of funds was unknown, generated from criminal proceeds (e.g., fraud, drug trafficking, tax evasion, corrupted politically exposed persons ‘PEPs’) or linked to circumvention sanctioned subjects.

The report continues by identifying the common typologies and patterns used in abusing the real estate sector, as follows:

  1. The use of third parties and family members.
  2. The abuse of a legal person’s structure and corporate account.
  3. The involvement of DNFBPs and broker bank accounts.
  4. Claimed rental income.
  5. The use of home finance and early settlement.
  6. Manipulation of the property price.

The report also uncovers different types of unlicensed practices associated with the real estate sector, such as unlicensed real estate crowdfunding, hawala services, virtual asset service providers, and practicing real estate activities without licensing.

Two lists of risk indicators relevant to abuse of the real estate sector in the UAE are included in this report to guide reporting entities involved in real estate transactions (particularly real estate professionals and financial institutions) in better detecting and reporting suspicious transactions and activities related to the sector.

Click here to view the full report.