The Law Firm of Piacentile, Stefanowski & Malherbe LLP

Money Laundering and New York and London Real Estate

Money laundering has been around for centuries, and it is likely that it will continue to be a problem long into the future. One of the ways that criminals have found to launder money is by buying real estate in New York and London. This allows them to hide their dirty money while also making a healthy profit. However, thanks to whistleblowers, law enforcement is getting better at detecting and stopping money laundering schemes. In this article, we will discuss how foreign oligarchs use New York and London real estate to hide dirty money, as well as how whistleblowers can help expose these schemes and qualify for a reward.

One of the most common ways that foreign oligarchs launder money is by purchasing expensive real estate in New York or London. This allows them to hide their money while also making a profit on the property and enjoying access to world-class cities. Their dirty money is also much safer in Western countries than it would be in their home countries, where it would be subject to confiscation from equally corrupt, criminal governments.

London real estate has become so expensive in the past few decades because it has become a popular destination for foreign investors, many of whom were looking to launder money. There are a few reasons why Russian oligarchs like London real estate. First, London is a major global city with a strong economy. This makes it a desirable place to live and do business. Second, English is the international language of business, and being able to speak English fluently gives Russian oligarchs an edge when doing business in other countries. Third, London has a very strong legal system that protects property rights. This gives Russian oligarchs confidence that their investments in London real estate will be safe and secure.

Russian oligarch and Putin stooge Roman Abramovich owns a £150 million mansion in Kensington and a £22 million penthouse in the UK. Russian oligarchs own some of London's priciest real estate. In March 2022, activists took control of a sanctioned Russian oligarch's £65 million mansion in London. All of these oligarchs acquired the wealth to buy these high-end luxurious properties using criminal or fraudulent schemes or by taking advantage of vulnerable moments in nascent nation's histories. The UK government has taken some steps to crack down on money laundering in the property market, but there is still more that needs to be done.

In addition to oligarchs using London real estate to launder money, New York City's real estate market is also a popular means for oligarch's to launder their dirty money. There are a number of reasons why NYC real estate is so expensive and thus a desirable place for oligarchs to launder their dirty money into. First, the city is in high demand, as the city is home to a large and vibrant population with many new residents moving to NYC each year. This creates competition and drives prices up. The cost of land and construction is very high in NYC, which also contributes to higher prices. New York City is geographically constrained, with limited space to build new housing developments. Further complicating the issue is the fact that many older buildings in the city are not zoned for residential use, meaning that there is even less housing available than there could be. This lack of supply drives up prices even further. All of these factors add up to make NYC real estate some of the most expensive in the world.

Because New York City has some of the most expensive real estates in the world, it has become a prime target for oligarchs looking to launder money. Often, they will purchase properties through shell companies and LLCs, making it difficult to track the true owner. They may also use straw buyers or front companies to make the purchases. Once they own the property, they may engage in activities such as over-invoicing or inflating rental prices to launder money. Additionally, they may use the property as collateral for loans, which can also be a way to launder money.

Oligarchs tend to use offshore companies to purchase these luxurious properties. In some cases, the oligarchs may even use straw buyers to purchase the property for them, which makes it even more difficult for law enforcement to trace the money back to them.

However, there are ways for whistleblowers to expose these schemes and help law enforcement catch the criminals. One way is to provide information about the oligarchs’ activities to FinCEN, the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Whistleblowers who provide information that leads to the recovery of more than $1,000,000 are eligible for a reward of up to 30% of the amount recovered.

If you have information about foreign oligarchs using New York or London real estate to launder money, you could be eligible for a significant reward. Contact an experienced whistleblower attorney today to discuss your case and find out how we can help you.