The real estate market has long provided a way for individuals to secretly launder or invest stolen money and other illicitly gained funds.
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Financial systems depend on trust from citizens and businesses to function. A vital part of this trust is the belief that banks are not holding funds on behalf of corrupt individuals and organisations, criminals, or terrorists.
In recent years, the financial sector has provided ample reason to question this belief. The majority of large-scale corruption scandals, from Ukraine to Brazil, have featured banks transferring or managing funds for the perpetrators and their associates.To reduce money-laundering risks and increase the systemic accountability of the financial sector, this report recommends that financial sector supervisors should make a standard set of supervisory and enforcement statistics public on a yearly basis, including the number of banks inspected, the number of regulatory breaches found, and the number and value of sanctions imposed.The report’s findings show that currently just 1 in 3 such statistics is publicly available across the 12 countries assessed. Regular data on anti-money laundering supervision would allow for greater oversight by citizens, media, and national and international authorities.