Real estate professionals in Costa Rica including real estate agents, notaries and lawyers will soon be required to report suspicious transactions to the government, according to a law tabled before Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly to curb money laundering in real estate and other industries. A second reading is necessary before the law can be enacted.
Failure to abide by the law will draw prison sentences and/or fines.
The reform establishes the obligations incumbent on professionals engaged in non-financial activities, such as lawyers, accountants, notaries and real estate agents, among others.
“…Specifically, the legal initiative obliges liberal professionals and merchants to maintain “know their client” policies, register with the Superintendency of Financial Entities (Sugef) and, with the criteria established in the law, report to the National Council For the Supervision of the Financial System (Conassif) any operations suspected as being laundering or financing for terrorism,” the bill says.
A U.S. State Department report recently noted Costa Rica is a favorable base for “transnational criminal organizations to commit financial crimes due to its location and limited enforcement capability.” Industries particularly vulnerable to exploitation by money launderers include construction and real estate, the report said.