Press release 11th Feb 2020

UK freeports: Consultation to explore implications a welcome start

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11th February, London – A consultation into establishing freeports in the UK is a welcome start into exploring the complex array of potential implications of this initiative.

The Government this week began consulting on the creation of up to 10 freeports across the UK. These specially designated zones typically allow business to be carried out inside a country’s land border, but outside of its customs regime.

Transparency International UK welcomes this consultation and the government’s acknowledgement of the need to address money laundering risks associated with free enterprise zones such as these.

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, said:

“We welcome this consultation, it is good to see the Government exploring the complex array of potential implications of this initiative. Elsewhere in Europe, freeports are a magnet for high value goods like art presenting a major money laundering risk due to the secrecy and security they offer. Without proper protections in place, creating similar areas in the UK could effectively establish onshore havens in which criminals and the corrupt could anonymously hide their ill-gotten gains.

“At a time when the Government is recognising the need to deal with dirty money in luxury UK property, it needs to take great care that it does not open another door through which illicit wealth can enter the country. We look forward to seeing details on exactly how UK freeports would work, and what sort of checks would be imposed both on goods being moved through these zones and those making use of them.”

 

Contact:

Harvey Gavin

harvey.gavin@transparency.org.uk

+44 (0)20 3096 7695

+44 (0)79 6456 0340