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Three years since pledge to reveal those behind foreign companies buying UK property Legislation must now be a priority

20th May 2019, London – Transparency International UK is today calling on the Government to make an urgent priority the introduction of legislation for a public register that reveals the individuals behind overseas companies buying UK property – if not this summer, then at least at the start of the new parliamentary session. It is disappointing that three years since the commitment was made, this legislation has yet to be formally introduced.

Today a Parliamentary report by the Joint Committee on the Draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill has called for legislation to be put before Parliament “as soon as possible”, noting the “need for a Register of Overseas Entities has increased”. Over three years ago, at the London Anti-Corruption Summit, the Government announced plans for a Register of Overseas Entities to target the flow of dirty money in the UK property market.

Transparency International research has found at least £4.4 billion worth of property across the UK bought with suspicious wealth – linked to multiple corruption allegations. A Register of Overseas Entities would publicly reveal the individuals that currently hide behind anonymous companies when purchasing UK property.

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK:

“The report is not just a green light for this draft legislation, it is an urgent cross-party call from Parliament to act now on secretive ownership of UK real estate.” 

“It has been three years since the Government first committed to bring about transparency over who is buying luxury property across the UK, so the Joint Committee’s report calling for this legislation to be put to Parliament as soon as possible is extremely welcome. This bill has cross-party support, so would be an easy win for the Government in an otherwise difficult legislative session, however any further delay would undermine other progress being made on dirty money in the UK.” 

“Whilst we recognise other important issues have dominated parliamentary proceedings in recent months, Brexit must not cause further delay to this vital piece of legislation. It is in fact a reason to further tighten our defences against illicit financial flows as the UK seeks to attract overseas investment.”

“Every day that passes, criminals and the corrupt are able to hide behind the cloak of anonymity to launder their stolen wealth into our property market. We welcome the urgency expressed by the Joint Committee, the cross-party support from MPs and indeed the preparatory work by the Government – but if we are to stop the UK being a safe haven for dirty money, now is the time for action.”

***ENDS***

Contact:

Dominic Kavakeb
Dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk
+44 20 3096 7695
+44 75 4596 5302

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Read 130 times Last modified on Monday, 20 May 2019 09:44

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