The spotlight on the London property market as a destination for colossal sums of money has intensified after the so-called Panama Papers leak.
The documents — more than 11.5 million encrypted internal documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm — have led to various reports detailing the foreign ownership of multiple prime London properties, sparking fears that some multimillion-dollar deals are being financed with laundered money.
The U.K.'s Guardian newspaper — one of the teams that has been analyzing the documents — reported last week that around 2,800 Mossack Fonseca companies appear on a U.K. land registry list of overseas property owners dating from 2014. The Financial Times also reported that associates of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, had bought property in the capital. CNBC has not been able to independently verify the allegations.
The money-laundering process involves processing money from a criminal or sanctioned sources and shuffling it from country to country and company to company until its original source cannot be traced.