The repercussions of the money laundering law in the real estate market in the DR
The Dominican Republic’s Law 155-17 on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing went into effect on June 1, 2017. “Money laundering is defined as any action or activity that attempts to give the appearance of legality to funds or assets of illicit origin to enter said funds into markets, economic sectors, and financial sectors as legitimate,” according to Dr. Susan Espaillat, an expert in business law. She explains that in the real estate market, the preventive measures for asset laundering and other crimes contemplated by Law 155-17 include capping the use of cash for the sale and transfer of real estate rights at one million pesos. “The remaining funds must be obtained through bank loans, or their source must be reliably justified.”
Espaillat explains that this regulation prohibits construction companies, real estate companies, and sellers from settling or paying, as well as accepting the settlement or payment of acts or operations, in national currency or precious metals using cash, coins, or bills in national currency or precious metals without due transparency of funds. As a result, she claims that the new law restricts real estate sales operations in the country because the owner-seller should not carry out the operation without a clear justification of the payment method. “In that order, the proposed regulations also authorize public notaries and title registrars to refrain from carrying out or registering any operations in cash unless they are delivered as reliable proof of the means of payment for conservation purposes,” the expert assures.
The current Money Laundering Law 155-17 penalizes anyone who conducts cash transactions without probable justification immediately, because such transactions are presumed to have a suspicious origin, entailing the payment of fines and criminal sanctions ranging from 300,000 pesos to 4 million pesos, as well as imprisonment for up to 40 years.
Dr. Susan Espaillat
Master’s Degree in Business Law and author of the book Criminal Responsibility of Commercial Companies
Contact: [email protected]