Germany’s government is unveiling a new law aimed at combating money laundering in the real estate sector. It’s estimated that billions in illegal earnings are funnelled into the German property market each year.
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said the draft bill will bring Germany in line with “the highest international standards in the fight against money laundering.”
The law is expected to be approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet on Wednesday. Among other changes, it will give the government’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) greater powers and access to the data of other investigative authorities.
The legislation will expand the number of professional groups required to report suspicious deals and take precautions to prevent laundering. Staff at auction houses, precious metals dealers, and real estate agents will now be covered by the law.
According to anti-corruption group Transparency International, 15-30% of all proceeds from criminal activities are invested in real estate, either through building and renovating, or buying, selling and renting.