UK introduces ownership register for property owned by foreign companies

Britain will now require foreign companies with property in the UK to identify their true owners in an official register, the government announced on Monday, as part of a crackdown on Russian oligarchs and corrupt elites who launder money. illicit wealth. The ‘overseas entities register’, which becomes active from Monday, is part of a wider economic crime law enacted this year in a bid to stop the flow of illicit Russian money into London after Moscow invaded Ukraine.

It will seek to ensure that criminals cannot hide behind secret chains of shell companies and will support government efforts to root out Russian oligarchs using assets in Britain to hide dirty money, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Business in a statement. “To make sure we are free from corrupt elites owning suspect wealth, we need to know who owns what,” Deputy Business Minister Martin Callanan said.

“We are raising the curtain and cracking down on those criminals who try to hide their illegally obtained wealth.” Foreign entities that already own land in the UK that falls within the scope of the register will have six months to comply by identifying their beneficial owner to Companies House.

The register will apply to goods purchased since January 1999 in England and Wales, and since December 2014 in Scotland. Those who fail to comply with the new rules could face penalties, including fines of up to 2,500 pounds ($3,043) per day or five years in prison.

The register has been described as an important provision of the Economic Crimes Act, with an official from Transparency International in March calling the step a “seismic shift” that will force foreign ownership into the open. The law was signed into law in March as the government was called to do more to make it harder for those close to Russian President Vladimir Putin to launder dirty money through properties in London, long dubbed by some as “Londongrad “. ($1 = 0.8215 pounds)

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