The United Kingdom is asking the unnamed buyer of three London homes valued at $101 million to explain where their money’s coming from.
Armed with the country’s new anti-money laundering rules, which became law last year, a U.K. court was able to freeze the ownership of the homes and compel the buyer, a series of offshore companies, to allow investigators verify the source of the funds via an unexplained wealth order (UWO), Bloomberg reported. This is the second time an UWO has ever been issued.
Authorities can obtain an UWO to investigate the buyer of an asset with a value of more than 50,000 pounds if they are either a “politically exposed” person (in terms of their business or politics outside the European Economic Area) or were involved in a serious crime.
The identity of the buyer of the $101 million homes is not known publicly, but the assets were bought by offshore companies and connected with an official in a foreign country.
The first time the UWO tool was issued was in February 2018 when a judge ordered Jahangir Hajiyev, the former head of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, and his wife to explain how they got 22 million pounds to buy two properties. [Bloomberg, NYT] – Maya Blackstone