Facebook  Twitter  Youtube  ISSUU  RSS  Email

Media Contacts

Press Office
+ 44 (0)20 3096 7695
Out of hours: Weekends; Weekdays (17.30-21.30): +44 (0)79 6456 0340


TransparencyUK International pressure can lead to governments making ambitious commitments at summits - but do they actually plan… https://t.co/2Xpdozx0VR
TransparencyUK Our updated tracker monitoring commitments on global #anticorruption is now live! ✅ Is your national government o… https://t.co/Tb5uebfo0m
TransparencyUK 📢‘Attention leads to action, and that is the first step towards accountability’. Discover what we’ve learned by m… https://t.co/rIu3OXNXvB

Tag Cloud

Allegations anti-bribery anti-corruption summit AntiCorruption anti money laundering bribery BSkyB Cabinet Office companies conflict Corporate Cooperation corrupt capital Corruption corruption in the uk employment film financial secrecy Governance Government health Home Office journalists Letter Leveson Inquiry London Merkel metropolitan police money laundering moneylaundering offshore tax open governance pharmaceuticals PHP police ethics Prime Minister Register of Interests Research safe havens Social Accountability Trustees UK Unexplained Wealth Orders unmask the corrupt UWO vacancies

Stay Informed

Sign up for updates on TI-UK's work & corruption news from around the globe.

Who really owns the UK?

Written by Robert Barrington on Thursday, 8 May 2014

If you walk down a residential street in central London, the chances are that some, perhaps the majority, of property is owned by overseas buyers.

If you walk down a residential street in central London the chances are that some, perhaps the majority, of property is owned by overseas buyers.

You might wonder who they are. To find out your first port of call would be the Land Registry which lists who owns property in England and Wales.

What this might tell you is that many properties are indeed owned by overseas buyers – but not the ones you would expect. You will almost certainly not find the names of Russian Oligarchs or Chinese government officials or the children of foreign dictators. You will probably find unknown shell companies based in off-shore jurisdictions like the British Virgin Islands the Cayman Islands and the Channel Islands.

The problem is that the Land Registry itself does not know who is behind these shell companies, or in the jargon, who is the ‘beneficial owner’ of the property.

When transparency is so poor that not even the Land Registry knows who really owns Britain, the space has been created in which corruption can thrive. Corrupt money can be used to buy British property with no scrutiny or accountability. This just makes life easier for corrupt individuals looking to hide their stolen assets and buy a London lifestyle.

TI-UK believes that the Land Registry should know who really owns the UK by requiring those who purchase property to declare the individuals who are the beneficial owners. You can read our views here in Tuesday’s Financial Times.


Read 4185 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 11:47

Robert Barrington

Robert is TI-UK's Executive Director. You can view his full bio here, and tweet him @TIukED.

Leave a Reply

Contact Us | Sitemap | Privacy

UK Charity Number 1112842

Transparency International UK is a chapter of