- AML/ CTF in Real Estate
- Anti-Money Laundering (AML) & Counter Terrorist Financing (CTF) in Real Estate
- Basic Techniques of Money Laundering in Real Estate
- Specific Indicators of Money Laundering
- Risk-Based Assessment
- Types of Risks
- Triggering Reporting Obligations
- FATF’s Role
- EU’s AML Framework
- Implementation and Flexibility
- Role of Gatekeepers in Real Estate
- FATF’s Updated Recommendation 22
- Role of the Financial Sector
- Legal Professionals
- Risk-Based Approach
- Suspicious Transaction Reporting (STR)
- Typologies and Current Methods of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in the Real Estate Sector
- General Typologies
- General Red flags in Real Estate
- Red flags regarding the payment of purchase price in Real Estate transactions
- Red flags regarding the financing of a Real Estate transactions
- Red flags regarding the acting parties in Real Estate transactions
- Red flags regarding the purchase object
- Red flags regarding renting, construction, and renovation
- German Money Laundering Reporting Regulation for Real Estate (GwGMeldV-Immobilien)
- Reporting Obligations due to Connections to Risk States or Sanctions Lists
- Reporting Obligations due to Peculiarities Related to the Parties Involved or the Beneficial Owner
- Reporting Obligations due to Peculiarities in Representation
- Reporting Obligations due to red flags related to the Price or a Purchase or Payment Modality
AML/ CTF in Real Estate
Anti-Money Laundering (AML) & Counter Terrorist Financing (CTF) in Real Estate
The EU Briefing „Understanding money laundering through real estate transactions“ provides a comprehensive overview of how real estate transactions are used for money laundering.
Key points include
- Integration of Illicit Funds: Money laundering in real estate serves to integrate black funds into the legal economy, offering a secure investment for criminals. This enables them to enjoy assets and funds while masking the original source of their money.
- Utilized Techniques: A variety of methods are employed, including cash payments, opaque financing schemes, manipulation of property prices (either overvaluation or undervaluation), and the use of non-transparent entities like companies and trusts. These entities or third parties often act as the legal owners of the property.
- Indicators of Money Laundering: Certain indicators, like geographical factors (e.g., the distance between the property and the buyer’s actual center of interest), can signal money laundering risks. Assessments of transactions and a customer’s situation are crucial in identifying these risks and triggering reporting obligations.
- Anti-Money Laundering Frameworks: The EU implements the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) through coordinated provisions, primarily the Anti-Money Laundering Directive. Key tools in this framework are customer due diligence and the reporting of suspicious transactions.
- Sector Involvement and Challenges: The real estate sector involves both non-financial and financial entities, each subject to different legal requirements. However, the current level of reporting suspicious transactions in real estate is limited, indicating a need for significant improvement.
- Socio-Economic Impact: Money laundering, particularly in the real estate sector, has substantial socio-economic effects that are hard to quantify. The increasing awareness of this issue is partly due to high-profile cases of money laundering in various EU cities.
This overview underscores the importance of stringent measures and vigilant reporting to combat money laundering in the real estate sector, highlighting the intricate relationship between legal financial mechanisms and illicit activities.
Basic Techniques of Money Laundering in Real Estate
Based on reports from the OECD and FATF:
- Complex Loans or Credit Finance: These are often used to launder money. The repayment of these loans can mix illicit and legitimate funds.
- Involvement of Non-Financial Professionals: These individuals might be used in the laundering process.
- Use of Corporate Vehicles: Employing companies for transactions to conceal the true nature of the funds.
- Manipulation of Property Appraisal or Valuation: This includes undervaluation, overvaluation, and successive sales at increasing values.
- Monetary Instruments: Use of various financial instruments in transactions.
- Mortgage and Investment Schemes: Utilizing complex financial arrangements.
- Engagement with Financial Institutions: Utilizing banks and other financial entities in the laundering process.
Specific Indicators of Money Laundering
- Recourse to Third Parties: Using intermediaries to conceal actual ownership.
- Unusual Income Patterns: Inconsistency between income and lifestyle, unexplained wealth, or unidentified lenders.
- Use of Front, Shell Companies, Trusts, and Complex Structures: To obscure the real owner of the property.
- Rental Income Schemes: Using rental arrangements to legitimize illicit funds.
- Property Renovations and Improvements: Utilizing illicit funds for property enhancement and selling it at a higher price.
- Geographical Elements: Considering the location and its relevance to the buyer or seller.
These techniques and indicators are essential in distinguishing unusual and suspicious transactions from normal real estate activities. They point towards potential red flags in real estate transactions that might indicate money laundering activities. Understanding and recognizing these signs is crucial for authorities and financial institutions in their efforts to combat money laundering through real estate.
Mitigating risks and detecting suspicious transactions in real estate involve a nuanced understanding of various risk factors and the ability to identify anomalies in transactions. Here’s a breakdown of the key components:
- Indicators of Money Laundering (Red Flags): These are crucial for conducting risk-based assessments. They help in recognizing potential money laundering activities.
- Guidance and Tools: Global and national guidance, along with tools developed by professional bodies, assist the real estate sector in identifying and responding to risks.
Types of Risks
- Customer Risk:
- Focus on the Buyer: Primarily relates to the buyer but may extend to the seller and other parties involved.
- Identifying the Real Purchaser: Central to this is ascertaining whether third parties or corporations are obscuring the owner’s identity without a legitimate reason.
- High-Ranking Foreign Officials: Special attention is required for transactions involving politically exposed persons (PEPs) or those under international sanctions.
- Transaction Risk:
- Variety of Elements: Includes the type of property, successive transactions, valuation discrepancies, and mismatch between the buyer and property.
- Financing Risks: Scrutiny of the source of funds, use of cash, or complex loans.
- Unusual Transaction Traits: Such as indifference to price negotiations, buying without viewing the property, or lack of interest in its features, suggesting the transaction may not make professional or commercial sense.
- Geographical Risk:
- Property and Buyer Location: Assessing if the property’s location matches that of the buyer/seller.
- Jurisdiction Concerns: The risk associated with properties or buyers from jurisdictions with weak anti-money laundering regimes, known for supporting terrorism, or having high levels of corruption.
- Unexplained Geographical Distance: A large distance between the buyer and the property’s location can be a red flag.
Triggering Reporting Obligations
- Assessment Questions: A set of questions to evaluate the risk factors.
- Identifying Suspicious Transactions: Depending on the answers to these questions, a transaction may be flagged as suspicious, triggering reporting obligations.
The challenge lies in differentiating between normal business conduct and unusual patterns that indicate potential money laundering. Professionals in the sector must be well-versed in these indicators and risks to effectively spot and report suspicious activities. This approach is key to preventing the misuse of real estate for money laundering purposes.
The anti-money laundering (AML) framework, particularly in relation to real estate, involves several key features and concepts:
- Intergovernmental Body: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an essential intergovernmental organization.
- Objective: Its primary goal is to set standards for developing and promoting both national and international policies aimed at combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
- Recommendations: FATF recommendations, updated last in 2012, are designed to increase transparency and enable effective action against illicit financial activities. These recommendations are intended for implementation in national legal systems.
EU’s AML Framework
- Historical Context: The EU’s first anti-money-laundering framework dates back to the 1990s, undergoing continual revisions to address evolving risks.
- Key Directives and Regulations:
- Directive (EU) 2015/849 (Fourth AML Directive): Focuses on preventing the financial system’s use for money laundering or terrorist financing.
- Amendment Directive (EU) 2018/843: This directive amends the 2015/849 directive to enhance its effectiveness.
- Regulation (EU) 2015/847: Pertains to fund transfers, aiming to make them more transparent and thereby assisting law enforcement in tracking criminals and terrorists.
Implementation and Flexibility
- Minimum Requirements and Member State Discretion: EU money laundering rules establish minimum requirements. However, member states have the discretion to impose stricter measures based on their assessment of the risks involved.
This framework highlights the collaborative effort at both international (through FATF) and regional (within the EU) levels to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, especially in high-risk areas like real estate. The flexibility offered to member states allows for tailored approaches based on specific national risks and circumstances.
The FATF documents on money laundering and terrorist financing through the real estate sector, along with the guidance for real estate agents, shed light on the crucial role of gatekeepers in mitigating these risks. Here’s an overview:
Role of Gatekeepers in Real Estate
- Varied Group of Professionals: Includes real estate agents, lawyers, and others involved in real estate transactions.
- Diverse Regulations and Obligations: They operate under different regulatory frameworks and have varying degrees of anti-money-laundering responsibilities.
- Risk Assessment and Reporting: These professionals are tasked with assessing risks and reporting suspicious activities when necessary.
FATF’s Updated Recommendation 22
- Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs): The real estate sector falls under this category.
- Customer Due Diligence (CDD) Requirements: DNFBPs, including real estate agents and lawyers, must conduct customer due diligence, especially when involved in transactions related to buying and selling real estate.
Role of the Financial Sector
- Important but Limited: The financial sector plays a significant role in transactions but should not be the sole reliance for risk assessment, especially with cash transactions.
- Advisory and Conveyancing Roles: They may provide advice on transaction structures and contracts and be involved in the conveyancing process.
- Customer Due Diligence / Know Your Customer (KYC): Involves identifying and verifying client identities, monitoring transactions, and reporting suspicious activities.
- Identifying Beneficial Owners: This includes uncovering individuals who may be hidden behind third parties, shell companies, trusts, or similar entities.
Suspicious Transaction Reporting (STR)
- Obligation to Report: There’s a mandate to report when there’s suspicion or reasonable grounds to believe funds are linked to criminal activities or terrorist financing.
- Applies to Both Financial and Non-Financial Sectors: The obligation extends across various transaction types as defined in the recommendations.
This framework underscores the comprehensive approach required to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing in the real estate sector. It emphasizes the importance of due diligence across various stakeholders, including both financial and non-financial professionals, in identifying and reporting suspicious transactions.
Typologies and Current Methods of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in the Real Estate Sector
In the financing, renting, management, appraisal, and renovation of real estate, there are various money laundering typologies to be aware of:
- Loan-Back Method: Offenders grant themselves a loan, usually through other countries, front men, and shell companies.
- Back-To-Back Loans: A variant of the Loan-Back method, where the collateral for the loan originates from illegal activities.
- Repayment of Mortgage Loans with Proceeds from Prior Crimes: The interest and/or repayments of a mortgage loan are paid with illegally acquired funds.
- Phantom Tenants: Fictitious rental agreements and further (possibly forged) documents.
- Cash Payments in Rental Relationships: Rent payments or tenant subsidies in cash, possibly in combination with phantom tenants.
- Rental Deposits: Repayment of the deposit in cash or booking the retained deposit as income for fictitious damages.
- Property Management: Investment in funds in tax havens and complex company structures to obscure payment flows.
- Exploitation of Gatekeepers: Misuse of the functions of notaries, lawyers, tax advisors, and district courts for money laundering activities.
- Money Laundering in Forced Sales: Using the qualification as a bidder at forced sales, without verifying the origin of the security deposit.
- Money Laundering Related to Real Estate Liens: Acquisition or transfer of economic ownership using front men.
- Overvaluation or Undervaluation of Properties: False statements in real estate valuation to manipulate market value.
- Consecutive Purchases and Sales: Sale of properties within related parties at different prices.
- Real Estate Portfolios: Reduction of transparency and obscuring ownership and origin of funds.
- Invoice Settlement in Renovation and Construction: Cash payment for construction or renovation, but high risk due to involvement of multiple actors.
- Construction and Renovation of Properties: Difficulty in verifying the actual services rendered.
- Renovation of Dilapidated Properties: Purchase of properties in need of extensive renovation and payment for the renovation with incriminated funds.
These typologies are important for recognizing potential money laundering activities and taking appropriate measures. Germany has introduced stricter sanctions to combat money laundering, especially in cases of serious, repeated, or systematic violations of the Money Laundering Act.
General Red flags in Real Estate
In the purchase and sale, financing, construction and renovation, renting and management, as well as in share purchases of companies (Share Deals) and the use of real estate, there are various peculiarities that can indicate potential money laundering activities:
Purchase and Sale
- Doubts about the identity or integrity of the client.
- Avoidance of direct contact by the contracting party.
- Frequent changes of ownership in short intervals.
- Little interest in the product or price.
- Business deals not in line with economic circumstances.
- Desire for a quick contract conclusion.
- Transaction amounts significantly above the usual value.
- Cash payment offers for the property.
- Complex financing structures.
- Unclear business background or purpose of use.
- Transfers from countries with high corruption risk.
- Shareholder of a shell company as the beneficial owner.
- Unclear identity of the contracting party.
- Unusual cash transactions for the industry.
- No use of external financing.
- Forced sales with conspicuous security services and transfers.
- Overvaluation or undervaluation of properties.
- Loan-Back method with loans from abroad, front men, shell companies.
- Back-To-Back Loans with collateral from illegal activities.
- Mortgage loans repaid with the interest and/or installments from illegal funds.
Construction and Renovation / Project Development
- Cash payment for construction or renovation.
- Lump-sum billing without detailed information.
- Renovation of dilapidated properties with incriminated funds.
Renting and Management
- Phantom tenants with fictitious rental agreements.
- Cash payments in the context of rental relationships.
- Repayment of deposits in cash.
Share Purchases in Companies (Share Deals)
- Concealment of ownership and origin of funds through funds and offshore financial centers.
- Turnover in restaurants, hotels, etc., as a means of money laundering, e.g., through fictitious invoices.
These peculiarities are important indicators that should be considered in the identification and prevention of money laundering activities in the real estate sector.
Red flags regarding the payment of purchase price in Real Estate transactions
For identifying peculiarities associated with the payment of the purchase price in real estate transactions that suggest an increased risk of money laundering, the following points should raise heightened attention among the obligated parties:
- Cash Payment of the Purchase Price: If the purchase price is paid entirely or to a significant extent in cash, or if the buyer offers such a cash payment, this should arouse attention.
- Transfer from Offshore Financial Centers or Tax Havens: If the purchase price is transferred from a country known as an offshore financial center or tax haven, this could be an indication of money laundering.
- Transfer from High-Risk Countries: Transfers from countries considered high-risk in connection with money laundering or other criminal activities are also suspicious.
- Transfer from a Third-Party Account: If the purchase price is transferred from a third-party account without an apparent reason, this should be questioned.
- Payment in Foreign Currency: Settling the purchase price in a foreign currency can also be suspicious.
- Premature Payment: If the purchase price is paid before the notarization of the property sale, this can indicate money laundering.
- Unusually Short Notice for Payment: A payment request for the purchase price that is unusually short-term or associated with high time pressure is suspicious.
- Discrepancy Between Agreed and Paid Purchase Price: Indications that a significantly higher or lower purchase price was agreed upon in the notarial deed than was actually paid should be cause for concern.
Identifying such peculiarities is important for recognizing potential money laundering activities and taking appropriate measures. It is part of the responsibility of actors in the real estate sector to be aware of such risks and to take appropriate steps to prevent money laundering if necessary.
Red flags regarding the financing of a Real Estate transactions
In connection with the financing of real estate transactions, there are various points that require increased attention from the obligated parties and can indicate potential money laundering activities:
- Unusually High Real Estate Loans: If the amount of the requested real estate loan appears unusually high or economically implausible compared to the customer’s existing assets.
- Purchase of High-Value Properties Without or with Minimal Financing: If a high-value property is acquired without using financing or only with an unusually low financing portion.
- Complex and Opaque Financing Structures: If a notably complex and opaque financing structure is chosen for the financing of a property, appearing unusual and/or economically implausible.
- Unusual Loan Conditions: If a loan contract for real estate financing is concluded with unusual or non-standard conditions, e.g., without naming the securities underlying the loan.
- Incomplete or False Information in the Loan Contract: If deliberately incomplete or false information is provided in the loan contract to conceal the true identity of the lender or borrower.
- Unusual Money Flows Before Purchase Price Transfer: If the transfer of the purchase price is preceded by a cash inflow into the buyer’s bank account from an unexplained or dubious source.
- Unusual Repayment Modalities: If a supposed loan for a property purchase is not repaid or is interest-free.
- Concealment of the Identity of Lenders: If the identity of supposed lenders is to be concealed through the use of mailbox companies and front men.
- Unusually High Repayment Rates: If the customer insists on unusually high repayment rates that cannot be plausibly justified given their economic situation.
- Sudden and Early Loan Repayment: If a real estate loan is repaid suddenly and prematurely, especially in cash, without the borrower being able to provide a plausible explanation for the origin of the funds.
These points should be viewed as warning signals indicating the need for further investigations and possibly the need to report suspicious activities.
Red flags regarding the acting parties in Real Estate transactions
In the context of real estate transactions, there are various peculiarities related to the acting parties that require heightened attention, as they can indicate potential money laundering activities:
- Difficult Determination of the Beneficial Owner: If the identity of the beneficial owner can only be determined with considerable effort.
- Delayed Identification: If identification is delayed or the buyer/seller abandons the project as soon as identification is requested or expanded.
- Refusal to Provide Information on the Origin of Funds: If the buyer refuses to provide information on the source of funds or provides implausible and non-credible information.
- Questionable Address Details: If the buyer/seller avoids providing address or contact details or provides questionable information.
- Connections to Shell Companies: If the beneficial owner is a shareholder of a shell company.
- Avoidance of Direct Contact: If the buyer/seller unusually avoids direct contact.
- Unusual Purchase Intent: If the purchase intent appears unusual or implausible given the economic background of the natural or legal person involved.
- Inconsistencies Regarding Age or Background: If the age and/or economic background of the buyer/seller strikingly do not match the planned transaction.
- Disinterest in Property Features: If the buyer shows unusually little interest in the characteristics of the property.
- Irrelevance of Price: If the price of a high-value property seems insignificant to the buyer/seller.
- Push for Rapid Contract Conclusion: If the buyer/seller unusually rushes to conclude the contract without apparent reason.
- Concealed Connections Between Buyer and Seller: If there are indications of hidden connections between the buyer and seller.
- Involvement of Politically Exposed Persons: If a politically exposed person or their relatives are involved in the real estate transaction.
- Sudden Change of Acting Parties: If a real estate deal initiated in one person’s name is abruptly replaced by another person shortly before the conclusion of the purchase or loan contract.
- Repeated Appearances of the Same Persons: If the same persons repeatedly appear as buyers or sellers in real estate transactions, conducting business that does not appear economically plausible.
- Extraordinary Growth of the Real Estate Portfolio: If the buyer’s real estate portfolio grows exceptionally quickly in a way that is not plausibly supported by their economic situation.
These points can help in early recognition of potential money laundering activities and taking appropriate measures.
Red flags regarding the purchase object
In real estate transactions, the following peculiarities related to the purchase object should attract special attention, as they can indicate potential money laundering activities:
- Inconsistencies in the Purchase Price: If the purchase price is significantly above or below the actual market value of the property, this can be an indication of money laundering.
- Lack of Important Documents: The purchase or sale of a property without any building documents, appraisals, energy certificates, etc., can be suspicious.
- Frequent Resale of the Same Property: If the same property is conspicuously often resold, regardless of whether the frequent disposals are accompanied by changes in the purchase price or remain the same.
- Different Appraisals with Noticeable Value Differences: If there are various appraisals for the property that were created within a short period and show noticeable value differences.
These points can indicate that a real estate transaction does not comply with usual economic or legal norms and should therefore be examined more closely to identify possible money laundering activities.
Red flags regarding renting, construction, and renovation
In renting, construction, and renovation of properties, the following peculiarities should attract increased attention, as they can indicate possible money laundering activities:
- Phantom Tenants: If there are indications, such as unusual rental agreements, that there is no actual renting of the property.
- Remarkably High Rental Income: If the rental income for a property is unusually high and does not align with the location and amenities of the property.
- Contradiction Between High Rental Income and Low Operating Costs: If the high rental income for a property contradicts the unusually low insurance or operating costs of the property.
- Cash Payment for Construction Work and Materials: If invoices for construction work and materials are paid in cash beyond the usual extent.
- Ignorance or Disinterest in Construction Project Details: If the buyer is unaware of or not interested in the details of the planned construction project.
- Lump Sum Billing of Construction and Renovation Measures: If construction and renovation measures for a property are billed on a lump-sum basis, so that the work carried out cannot be traced.
- Purchase and Renovation of Dilapidated Properties: If a property in need of renovation is purchased in cash or via transfer from an offshore account, extensively renovated, and then sold at a high price.
These points can indicate unusual or suspicious activities related to properties and should therefore be closely examined by the involved parties, such as real estate agents, financial institutions, and other participants in the process.
German Money Laundering Reporting Regulation for Real Estate (GwGMeldV-Immobilien)
The regulation on matters subject to reporting under the Money Laundering Act in the real estate sector (GwGMeldV-Immobilien), which came into effect on August 31, 2020, aims to specify reporting obligations for certain professionals, particularly lawyers, notaries, auditors, and tax consultants, in real estate transactions. This is part of the federal government’s efforts to counter increased money laundering risks in the real estate sector and to strengthen the framework for combating money laundering and terrorist financing, based on the National Risk Analysis of Autumn 2019, which identified the real estate sector as particularly risky.
According to this regulation, typified circumstances that suggest a possible connection with money laundering must be reported to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). Such peculiarities may arise from relationships with risk states according to EU or FATF guidelines, with persons on sanctions lists, or from irregularities regarding the parties involved in the transaction, the beneficial owner, the price, or purchase and payment modalities (e.g., use of cash).
The regulation follows amendments to the Money Laundering Act that came into effect at the beginning of the year and was issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance in coordination with the Federal Ministry of Justice and for Consumer Protection based on Section 43 (6) of the German GwG.
Reporting Obligations due to Connections to Risk States or Sanctions Lists
Reporting obligations for real estate transactions related to risk states or persons on sanctions lists:
- Reporting Obligation for Participants from Risk States: A reporting obligation exists if a participant or beneficial owner of a real estate transaction resides in a risk state or has a close connection to such states. This includes countries classified by the European Commission or the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as high-risk states or having strategic deficiencies.
- Reporting Obligation for Close Connections to Risk States: A reporting obligation also arises if an item of business or a bank account used in a real estate transaction has a close connection to a risk state.
- Reporting Obligation for Participants on Sanctions Lists: Transactions are also subject to reporting if a participant or beneficial owner is listed on sanctions lists of the European Union or in general decrees of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
- Information Provision by the Financial Intelligence Unit: The FIU provides obligated parties with a list of relevant states and information on affected persons on their website.
Reporting Obligations due to Peculiarities Related to the Parties Involved or the Beneficial Owner
Reporting obligations based on peculiarities related to the parties involved in a real estate acquisition or the beneficial owner:
- Non-Compliance with Cooperation or Information Obligations: A reporting obligation exists if a participant does not fulfill their cooperation or information obligations under the Money Laundering Act.
- False or Incomplete Information on Identity: Situations where false or incomplete information is provided about the identity of a participant or the beneficial owner are subject to reporting.
- Fiduciary Relationships Without Apparent Purpose: A reporting obligation arises in cases of indications of fiduciary-held business items or trust relationships without a recognizable economic or other lawful purpose.
- Criminal Investigations or Convictions: Cases are subject to reporting if investigations are conducted against participants or beneficial owners for money laundering or related crimes, a procedure is pending, or a conviction has occurred in the last five years, provided a connection with the acquisition process cannot be excluded. Exceptions are cases where the participant or beneficial owner is or was a defender.
- Disproportion to Legal Income and Assets: A reporting obligation exists in cases of indications of a gross disproportion of the acquisition process to the legal income and assets of a seller, purchaser, or beneficial owner.
- Beneficial Owners via Third-Country Companies: Cases are subject to reporting where the status as beneficial owner is conveyed through a company based in a third country, without an apparent economic or other lawful purpose.
- Connection to Cross-Border Tax Arrangements: A reporting obligation exists if the acquisition process is related to a cross-border tax arrangement within the meaning of the Fiscal Code and exhibits certain characteristics, where the obligated party is liable to report as an intermediary.
Reporting Obligations due to Peculiarities in Representation
Reporting obligations for peculiarities related to representations in real estate acquisition processes. The reporting obligations include the following situations:
- Acting Based on a Power of Attorney Without Written Form: A reporting obligation arises if a participant acts based on a power of attorney that does not meet the written form requirement, and the power of attorney is not provided in writing to the obligated party within two months of the request.
- Presentation of a Fake or Altered Power of Attorney: A reporting obligation exists if a power of attorney document is presented that is fake or altered.
- Acting Based on a Power of Attorney with Unclear Underlying Relationship: There is a reporting obligation if action is taken based on a power of attorney whose underlying relationship is not recognizable to the obligated party.
- Acting Based on a Power of Attorney Authenticated by a Consular Representation: A reporting obligation arises if action is taken based on a power of attorney authenticated by staff of the consular representation of the Federal Republic of Germany in a third country.
Reporting obligations related to peculiarities regarding the price or the purchase or payment modalities in real estate transactions:
- Reporting Obligation for Certain Payment Methods: A reporting obligation exists if the consideration is paid entirely or partially in cash over 10,000 euros, in crypto values, or via a bank account in a third country (unless one of the contracting parties is resident in that third country).
- Price Deviation from the Actual Market Value: A reporting obligation arises if the consideration significantly deviates from the actual market value, unless the difference is based on a disclosed gratuitous donation.
- Premature Payments Over 10,000 Euros: Payments are subject to reporting if they are made entirely or partially before the conclusion of the legal transaction, provided the amount is over 10,000 euros and the seller is not a public law legal entity.
- Payments by or to Non-Involved Persons: A reporting obligation exists if the payment is made entirely or partially by a person who is neither involved in the acquisition process nor is the beneficial owner, with exceptions for certain familial, business, or legal relationships.
- Red flags in Resales Within Three Years: Cases are subject to reporting where an item of business is resold within three years after a previous acquisition at a significantly different price or is intended to be sold back to the previous owner or shareholder without a comprehensible reason.
- Payments via Escrow Accounts Without Justified Security Interest: A reporting obligation exists if the payment is to be made via an escrow account, except in the case of notary escrow accounts, unless there is a justified security interest.