Research Handbook on Money Laundering
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Research Handbook on Money Laundering

Edited by Brigitte Unger and Daan van der Linde

Although the practice of disguising the illicit origins of money dates back thousands of years, the concept of money laundering as a multidisciplinary topic with social, economic, political and regulatory implications has only gained prominence since the 1980s. This groundbreaking volume offers original, state-of-the-art research on the current money laundering debate and provides insightful predictions and recommendations for future developments in the field.
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Chapter 21: Detecting money laundering in the real estate sector

Joras Ferwerda and Brigitte Unger


Estimations of the level of money laundering reach up to 2 to 5 per cent of worldGDP, raising the question where does all this money go. A potential answer lies within the real estate sector, which is large enough to absorb a large part of this money and prone to money laundering because of features such as the heterogeneity of buildings, the non-transparency in the market and possibilities for hiding the true owner. So far, however, no systematic study has been conducted on the importance and frequency of money laundering in the real estate sector. This study tries to use the information known to authorities to systematically identify and analyse money laundering in this sector. Though the data refer to the Netherlands only, the method can be used for other countries as well. This chapter is organized as follows: After describing why the real estate sector is prone to money laundering, we explain our research method and present a list of seventeen indicators that we use to find the real estate objects that are most likely related to money laundering.

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