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Sepblac is the financial intelligence unit of the Spanish government's economic affairs ministry, a role that makes it the supervisory authority for the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism.

This authority maintains a registry of money laundering alerts. These are provided by bodies such as the associations of property registrars. Up to October 15 this year, this registry received 1,227 notifications from the association in the Balearics. Only two other regions, Madrid and Catalonia, generated more alerts. Proportionally (based on population), the Balearics number was the highest.

The dean of the association in the Balearics, José Luis Jiménez-Herrera, says that "it's all relative". "Money is more likely to be laundered when house prices are higher."

The alerts are triggered by risk indicators. "Years ago there was a list of tax havens, but now it has become more flexible. Switzerland is no longer hermetic and there are other places that are opaque." Above all, he explains, there are "quantitative criteria". "If a payment is in cash, an alert is produced." The same applies with, for instance, very early mortgage repayments. "All this must be communicated. The notice is confidential. It is important that there are controls because it is a way of preventing money laundering."

Another tool is the registry of beneficial ownership, which obliges companies to declare who their true owners are when they present their annual accounts.

Jiménez-Herrera says that most of the alerts sent to the registry end up being discarded. An analysis unit reviews these alerts. If there are solid indications of laundering operations, criminal investigations are initiated.

Among the work that the registrars in the Balearics are involved with is the seizure of Russian assets. An embargo is placed on these in accordance with requirements set out by the national interior ministry.