Real estate money laundering in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland

Author:Fabian Maximilian Johannes Teichmann
Position:Teichmann International AG, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Pages:370-375
SUMMARY

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how criminals launder money in the real estate business in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Design/methodology/approach A qualitative content analysis of 58 semi-standardized expert interviews with both criminals and prevention experts and a quantitative survey of 184 compliance officers led to the identification... (see full summary)

 
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Real estate money laundering in
Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein
and Switzerland
Fabian Maximilian Johannes Teichmann
Teichmann International AG, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Abstract
Purpose The purpose of thispaper is to illustrate how criminals launder money in the realestate business
in Austria,Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
Design/methodology/approach A qualitative content analysis of 58 semi-standardized expert
interviews with both criminalsand prevention experts and a quantitative survey of 184 compliance ofcers
led to the identicationof concrete techniques of money launderingin the real estate sector.
Findings Real estate companies in German-speakingcountries in Europe continue to be extraordinarily
suitable for money laundering. In particular, they can be used for placement, layering and integration,
combined with violationsof the tax code. Most importantly, however, they are the vehicles for one of the very
few protablemethods of laundering money.
Research limitations/implications As the qualitative ndings are based on semi-standardized
interviews,these are limited to the 58 intervieweesperspectives.
Practical implications The identication of gaps in existing anti-money laundering mechanisms is
meant to provide compliance ofcers, law enforcement agencies and legislators with valuable insights into
how criminalsoperate.
Originality/value While the existing literaturefocuses on organizations ghting money laundering and
on the improvement of anti-moneylaundering measures, this paper describes how money launderersoperate
to avoid gettingcaught. Both prevention and criminal perspectivesare taken into account.
Keywords Money laundering, Real estate, Compliance
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
It is often claimed that laundering illegally obtained money is expensive. In fact, money
launderers are often willing to spend a signicant portion of their incriminated assets on
laundering activities. Prominent examples include, but are by no means limited to,
running restaurants, bars or nightclubs. In these examples, money launderers pretend to
have more revenues than they actually have and, thereby, place pecuniary proceeds from
illegal activities into legitimate businesses. However, this implies that they need to
maintain a certain infrastructure, which usually has its own associated costs, and,
ultimately, they have to pay taxes on the money they place into their businesses that act
as fronts for their illegal activities. The laundering costs can easily exceed 30 per cent of
the assets laundered.
Money laundering, however, does not necessarily have to be expensive, but can
actually be quite protable. In fact, this research paper will illustrate how criminals
operate to launder money in the real estate sector in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein
No external research funding has been received for this study.
JMLC
21,3
370
Journalof Money Laundering
Control
Vol.21 No. 3, 2018
pp. 370-375
© Emerald Publishing Limited
1368-5201
DOI 10.1108/JMLC-09-2017-0043
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/1368-5201.htm

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