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Monday , September 21 2020

Sale of chalets raises suspicions of money laundering

KUWAIT CITY, July 30: Several social media personalities, from owners of luxury goods auction accounts and real estate brokers (auctioneers), have entered the line of suspicion on money laundering, after a number of them was registered in the last period for operations that indicate their involvement in deals that violate provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Funding Law, reports Al-Rai daily.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is preparing to refer six real estate brokerage offices to the Financial Investigation Unit, after it has been proven that they have registered in their books of brokerage of the sales of chalets built on state properties, and that they did not observe the specified instructions in this regard.

According to informed sources, chalets and industrial or agricultural real estates or plots, and any possession within the state properties are not to be sold according to the traditional method whereby properties are registered and acquired first through the auction book. This means transferring their ownership to another party must be done by its withdrawal in the Ministry of Finance, provided the property is registered with the Ministry of Justice in the name of the new party. The role of the auctioneer in possession of any state property is limited to reconciling the price between the seller and the buyer.

The sources revealed that the highest price of a chalet recorded in the monitored violation list was KD 1.4 million, and the most suspicious chalets to be sold cost KD 850,000, even though the initial estimated value of its price does not exceed half a million dinars. They indicated that the six chalet locations are different.

They said, “Ministry of Commerce and Industry is not concerned with the exceeding of the real market value of these chalets, but rather with the fact that the six signers have registered their assets on state property”.

The sources indicated that “The violation carried a suspicion of money laundering, as they violated provisions of the law regarding their activity books. The files will be referred to the Financial Investigation Unit concerning the observed violations, and the latter will open an extensive investigation on these violations from its side.” 

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