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 funneled 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 was 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.
“Money laundering is a serious problem in our country. We have to eliminate it,” Scholz told the Funke Media Group in an interview. “In particular, we have to take a closer look at the real estate market.”
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.