The U.S. Treasury Department said Thursday it has expanded an anti-money-laundering data program that requires title insurance companies to reveal the owners of shell companies buying luxury real estate.
The changes lower the value threshold of potential acquisitions subject to the requirement and expands the coverage to five new cities.
Shell-company real estate deals are legal, but they’re attractive to money launderers because a deal can be made anonymously and the buyer doesn’t have to explain the origin of the funds used. The industry largely has avoided regulatory scrutiny over its risks of money laundering until recent years.
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