South Africa Probes Real Estate Firm for Aiding Money Laundering
04 Mar 2020

By Zdravko Ljubas

OCCRP — The South African real estate regulator is launching a probe into allegations that an agency violated financial regulatory laws when it sold properties worth US$3.2 million to the family of a former Mozambican president.

South Africa’s Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) said on Sunday that it was investigating Pam Golding Properties following a media report that alleged the agency had “facilitated the sale of properties to the children of former Mozambican President Armando Guebuza without following legal requirements and thus allegedly aided money laundering.”

The Mail & Guardian, a South African weekly newspaper that focuses on political analysis and investigative reporting, cited United States court documents saying that the properties were purchased at the same time that bribes were received by Guebuza’s government.

Pam Golding Properties is one of South Africa’s top estate agencies, with offices across sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. It is suspected of having contravened financial regulatory laws when it facilitated the sale of property to politically exposed people.

The EAAB said that former political leaders and their families laundered money by “investing large sums of illegal monies in properties in South Africa, resulting in the artificial inflation of property prices and skewed market values.”

The country’s national centre for the receipt of financial data, analysis and dissemination of financial intelligence to the competent authorities — the Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) — was also asked to participate in the probe.

FIC is expected to check if Pam Golding has violated regulations on money laundering and terrorist financial control; suspicious and unusual transaction or cross-border electronic transfer.

Read more at OCCRP

Photo: Chatham House / CC BY 2.0

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