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Økokrim sounds the alarm about hidden owners of Norwegian property

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Økokrim chief Pål Lønseth asks politicians to tighten legislation to prevent money laundering through property investment. Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB

Of NTB | 21.05.2024 12:20:26

Crime and justice: More and more estate agents are reporting to Økokrim about cases where money laundering may be suspected, Økokrim boss Pål Lønseth tells Television 2.

Økokrim has uncovered organized criminal circles that use a number of middlemen and straw companies to hide profits from criminal activity by investing the money in property.

– We know it happens, he says.

An underlying problem is that we do not have good enough control over who owns property in Norway, according to Lønseth.

The Storting is now dealing with a report to the Storting on economic crime, where hidden ownership and foreign property purchases in Norway are among the topics. Lønseth wants a significant tightening of the legislation.

– The most important thing is an overview of the real owners behind company structures, and the real owners behind real estate, says Lønseth.

He wants the registration of property to be made compulsory, and he also wants a ban on so-called blank deeds. It is a deed that is signed by the seller, but where the field for the buyer is empty. The owner is thus hidden.

– There is an obvious money laundering risk, says Lønseth.

He also believes that estate agents must be given access to public databases to make them better able to counter money laundering.

(© NTB)

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