Even though this topic has been discussed for many years, it seems that the government has finally decided to take some real steps to stop this practice. According to the latest news, offshore companies that want to buy properties in the UK will have to provide information about their true owners. This plan was created by ministers who want to end money laundering and tax evasion which is often associated with this practice.
Some statistics show that there are foreign companies that own British properties worth billions and no one actually knows who is really behind these companies. The plan could force foreign companies that bid for public sector projects to reveal their owner’s identity too.
The Prime Minister has decided to force every UK company to reveal their true owners as part of the new project for a beneficial ownership register – a project that starts this June. This decision is not really spontaneous and it was inspired by the latest scandal about the Panama Papers where the public had a chance to see how many powerful individuals and companies are establishing offshore companies just to avoid taxes. Some of them used these companies for money laundering too.
Prime Minister David Cameron found himself under fire because he had invested in a company like this founded by his father. Although the letter of the law had been followed it didn’t stop the press and social media having a field day with this revelation! In light of all the issues surrounding this subject, David Cameron has organised a summit dedicated to anti-corruption measures in London this May. This is when he will reveal the latest plans to combat this growing problem.
British property is very attractive to offshore companies due to the fact that the national economy is relatively stable and so is the property market. Criminals involved in money laundering are always prepared to lose certain amounts of money just to get “clean money”, but when they invest in UK property they are also making a tidy profit.
However, with this action plan designed by experts and promoted by the government it is expected that many of these criminals and criminal organizations will look for other places to invest. Every year, there are thousands of suspicious transactions in the UK and many of them are linked to the real estate sector. It will be interesting to see how this story develops…..