Buying 5 cars in 2020 made my bank think I was money laundering

2020 has been a difficult and frustrating year for many. In December 2019 I effectively broke my leg so I’ve had extended amounts of time to kill and as a petrolhead that only ends in one way. Scrolling though eBay, auto trader and Facebook marketplace for high performance cars and obviously buying a few.

How this all began.

I was the proud owner of a supercharged B7 RS4 which decided to munch a set of rod bearings and render itself inoperative. I’d only had the Audi for around 3-4 months and ended up breaking it for parts and turning a healthy profit. I’d committed to owning the car for the long term of at least a couple of years as I was smitten. Alas this was not the case,after taking it apart the freedom of having funds to buy a new car was brilliant. This feeling became pretty addictive as like most petrol heads I’ve a long list of cars I want to own, so ticking them off is essential I just seem to have done it a lot quicker than I expected.

The evidence

Having apparently turned over more than £200,000 since the start of 2020 my bank became somewhat suspicious of what I’ve been up to. This isn’t just attributed to the vast sums of money transferred in and out of my current account, but the amounts of cash I’ve paid in and taken out for certain purchases. For example I took £13,000 cash as part payment for my Aston Martin, I took £6000 in against my RS7. Whatever you buy is then doubled if you choose to sell it, so very quickly after turning a profit my first GT-R accounted for nearly £60,000 alone. Repeat this again for the RS7 , Aston Martin and finally purchasing another Nissan GT-R I can see their point.

What did I buy?

Well for my 25th Birthday I spent around £30,000 on a tuned R35 GT-R. Then Covid hit about 3 months later, I’d paid for a service and some Alcon brake discs before selling the car on for a profit. Within a week or so I then found a Matte Daytona Grey Audi RS7 at a dealership during lockdown number 1. Thanks to this I was able to negotiate a sizeable discount to around £30,000 with a fresh oil service and 12 months MOT. The RS7 parted ways and I ended up buying an Aston Martin Vantage for only £24,000 with a cash lump sum my way of £6000, this came with all the original bumpers, side skirts grills and exhaust etc. This was later sold on for £26,000 with new tyres and brakes netting me a healthy profit again. In between all of this I ran around in an Alfa Romeo 156 which I christened “The Italian sports saloon” this only cost me £500 but it still made the bank ask questions. I really miss that car. Then to finish I’ve just purchased a Low Mileage Litchfield 4.25 Nissan GT-R which I’ll unveil shortly which again is a sizeable chunk of money invested in something stupid I really don’t need. I love cars though and the stories that come from them are often amusing.

Extra parts

The first GT-R got a new set of Wheels and Alcon brakes, so did the Aston and now the newest GT-R has a set of wheels on the way to boot. It’s amazing how quickly a grand here and there add up to make you look a little bit suspicious. My bank phoned me this morning for what can only be described as a mild interrogation. Asking me where money has come from, where’s it going to and why, even providing registration plates at times. I’ve bought and sold enough cars this year to be asked whether I’m running a small used car business (insert sniggering here)

The phone call

My morning started with an 0800 number calling me which is never a good start in the UK. Usually my bank call from a recognised number or email me when they need something, so I was instantly suspicious. After doing some research and receiving an email it turned out to be genuine but nothing like I was expecting. What’s come from today’s little interrogation is that I can purchase whatever I like, but that’s it’s probably best if I avoid cash for a little while. The problem typically arises with the fact my transfer limit per day is only £25,000 and every car except 1 this year has been significantly over that. Hence the withdrawing a sum of money to make up the difference. I was very fortunate the seller of the first GT-R banked with the same firm I did. We went into my local branch and setup two transfers, the first being my maximum amount and the latter being the remainder to be completed just after midnight. This isn’t just a nuisance it’s unnecessary hassle for both parties, again hence using cash.

So to summarise try and avoid moving semi-large amounts of cash around on a regular basis. Stick to bank transfers and maybe keep hold of cars a little longer unless you want to sit on the naughty step with your bank manager. It was a bit of a laugh and an amusing phone discussion in hindsight yet I feel if I’d perhaps answered incorrectly, I may have had some police Involvement at a latter date. I’ll try and keep the new car for 6 months and see where I’m at with everything to avoid getting myself into trouble again. It’s massively opened my eyes to the outside perception of buying and selling cars as money is multiplied the more you move it around. A purchase and sale are quickly added together so if you keep moving £30,000 or more back and first plus modifications on top you’re very quickly painting a suspect picture of yourself.

Published by Sam Busby

a big nosed bearded idiot who likes to write about cars. Lucky enough to have owned a few quick ones too.

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