A new worldwide register for Foreign companies owning UK properties will have to reveal their ultimate owners
The penalties include a ban on any foreign entity selling or leasing property without first publicly declaring its beneficial owner.
Those failing to register overseas entities, or who knowingly try to deceive the register by providing false information, face up two years in jail and a substantial fine.
“That is why we are introducing the world’s first public register which will expose the ultimate owners of overseas shell companies, giving authorities the information they need to come down on criminals who launder their dirty money through the UK’s property market and to seize the proceeds of crime.”
“The UK is known around the world for its open and dependable business environment and this reputation is maintained by keeping under review our required high standards,” said Business Minister Richard Harrington.
Companies will also be required to provide annual updates to Companies House to ensure the information on the register is kept up-to-date.
The register – which will go live by 2021 with amendments along the way- follows the introduction of the Criminal Finances Act 2017, part of the government’s Anti-Corruption Strategy, which provides new powers such as Unexplained Wealth Orders to law enforcement agencies to help them seize the proceeds of crime.
recovered under the proceeds of crime act
Well over £2 billion of criminal assets have been recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act, while the government has recovered more than £3 billion extra since 2010 through recovery under additional powers.
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UK government minister for Scotland Lord Duncan said: “For too long criminals have been able to use the property industry as a front for investing dodgy funds, hiding dirty money and evading the law. This stops now.”