Press release 19th Dec 2019

Measures to tackle dirty money in UK property market a major step in fight against corruption

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19 December, London – Transparency International UK strongly welcomes the inclusion of measures to tackle corrupt money in the UK property market in today’s Queen’s Speech.

Rachel Davies, Head of Advocacy at Transparency International UK, said:

“Our research has shown time and again that the UK property market is a safe haven for dirty money. It is therefore very welcome to see legislation in today’s Queen’s speech that will close a loophole which allows criminals and the corrupt to hide their ownership of property. The draft legislation would reveal the true owners of overseas companies that hold property here and strengthen our defences against illicit financial flows as the UK seeks to attract overseas investment. Whilst we recognise other important issues will feature in parliamentary proceedings in the coming months, Brexit should not be seen to delay this vital piece of legislation being tabled at the earliest possible opportunity.”


Notes to editors:

  • Currently, individuals and businesses can use UK property to hide their ill-gotten gains by purchasing it through a company in a secrecy jurisdiction like the British Virgin Islands. The Registration of Overseas Entities Bill would require all overseas companies that own UK property to reveal their ‘ultimate beneficial owners’.
  • A Transparency International investigation identified 421 UK properties bought with £5 billion of corrupt and suspicious wealth. This is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
  • The Registration of Overseas Entities Bill is a key commitment within the Government’s 2019 Economic Crime Plan.
  • Transparency International UK and Global Witness have advocated together since 2015 to bring this into law.


Harvey Gavin

[email protected]

+44 (0)20 3096 7695

++44 (0)79 6456 0340