February 28, 2017
The new condominiums on West 57th Street are so expensive, the area has earned the nickname “Billionaire’s Row.” These billionaires often pay in cash and buy through limited liability corporations, so that their names are not recorded on the deed.
Now, the U.S. Treasury has revealed the initial findings of an investigation into these kind of transactions. About 30% of the transactions the agency examined involved a “beneficial owner or purchaser representative that is also the subject of a previous suspicious activity report.”
That means possible money laundering.
All this started when the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network announced it was “concerned about illicit money” being used to buy luxury real estate in Manhattan and Miami-Dade County. That has led to an extended investigation that requires title insurance companies to reveal the names of the owners of shell corporation used to buy very expensive homes in cash. In Manhattan, that starts with transactions over $3 million.
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