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Money laundering rules take effect from March 1

Dealers could face fines of up to £5,000 if they fail to comply with tough new financial regulations to stop money laundering, which come into effect on March 1.

If dealers want to continue taking cash payments for goods worth more than Euros 15,000 (about £10,200) they must register with Customs and Excise. Under the European Union and UK Government strategy, customs officers will have to the power to inspect company records and visit businesses to ensure compliance.

Louise Wallis, Retail Motor Industry Federation business development manager, says: “Unregistered dealers must have a written policy for staff and customers indicating that they do not accept large quantities of cash. Customs will be able to ask to see proof that you do not take cash.”

Edward Simpson, Finance and Leasing Association senior policy advisor, says: “This legislation is going to affect all dealers as it is targeted at businesses that deal in high-value goods like cars.”

Payments made by cheque, banker's draft or credit card will not be affected by the rules. Dealers have will have to pay £100 per site to register as well as £250 to train a money laundering reporting officer, which will be needed at each site.

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