The government has announced that an overseas beneficial ownership register revealing owners of overseas companies buying property in the UK will be launched by early 2021. When launched it will be the world-first public register to require overseas companies that own or buy property in the UK to provide details of their ultimate owners. This will help to reduce opportunities for criminals to use shell companies to buy properties in the UK to launder their illicit proceeds and make it easier for law enforcement agencies to track criminal funds and take action.
Currently £180 million worth of property in the UK is under criminal investigation as the suspected proceeds of crime since 2004. Over 75% of properties currently under investigation use corporate off-shore secrecy to disguise money laundering.
The register will also provide the government with greater transparency on overseas companies seeking public contracts.
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