A new Artificial Intelligence (AI) clearance system will help safeguard legitimate homebuyers in Malaysia and streamline compliance with strict money laundering laws, Juwai IQI has announced.

The cross-border property marketplace, which has a focus on China-based buyers, says its new initiative will help protect its network of 30,000 real estate agents worldwide, including one of Malaysia’s largest real estate agent teams.

Registered agents in Malaysia are deemed ‘reporting institutions’ under the Anti Money Laundering / Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act, introduced in 2001.

All reporting institutions are required by law to prevent their institutions from being used as conduits for money laundering or terrorism financing activities. They must store records for six years and report suspicious activity.

The company hopes to streamline the identification and verification process and speed up compliance with the law, through its Atlas real estate app. Homebuyer documents will be authenticated using AI, it adds.

Juwai IQI co-founder and group CEO Kashif Ansari says the goal is to improve security and reduce by as much as 50% the typical homebuyer’s compliance time. A 1,000-strong data and technology team will also be working on the program from its Kuala Lumpur headquarters.

“Money laundering is a financial crime that can lock Malaysians out of owning their own homes. If we let criminals use dirty money to buy property, that could make homes less affordable for regular buyers. We believe it is our responsibility to maintain high standards of practice. We believe our system will help ensure home ownership is preserved for regular Malaysians,” said Ansari.

“We want to ensure that housing remains affordable and available to the rakyat (citizens) by keeping laundered money and criminal syndicates out. That’s our responsibility as gatekeepers in the real estate market. Our most important task is to verify the identity of those buying real estate to ensure they are legitimate individuals or organizations.”

Founded in 2011, Juwai is a global real estate technology group. The company advertises $4 trillion U.S. of property from 111 countries, generating 10.2 million monthly visits.

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