Government Will Mandate Foreign Property Owners To Reveal Their Real Identities In Dirty Money Clampdown
Kwasi Kwarteng has announced that legislation for the creation of a foreign property ownership register in the UK will be brought to the Commons tomorrow.
The register will form part of a wider package of new economic measures designed to crack down on dirty money and laundering in Britain.
In a statement delivered in the Commons on Monday evening, the business secretary said that “in light of Russia’s outrageous actions in recent days, it is necessary that we put these criminals on notice and send a clear message that the UK will not tolerate their corruption here”.
Kwarteng confirmed that two major steps will be taken by government to clamp down on long and oft complained-about "dirty money".
Government will today publish a white paper outlining a slew of reforms to Companies House targeted at increasing transparency.
The changes will include transforming the agency into a “custodian of accurate and detailed information”, which will enable officials to “clamp down on those who seek to abuse UK corporate structures to launder money”.
Any individual setting up, running, owning or controlling a company in Britain will be required to verify their identity with Companies House who will then be able to challenge “dubious information” and “inform security agencies”.
There will also be new legislation aiming to stop company agents from overseas from forming companies in the UK on behalf of criminals or oligarchs.
“Oligarchs and kleptocrats from Russia and elsewhere have used the veneer of legitimacy provided by UK registered companies and partnerships and have used high end property to help launder proceeds of corruption,” Kwarteng told the Commons.
The business secretary confirmed that alongside publishing a white paper, government will bring forward legislation to reform limited partnerships law, enable officials to seize crypto assets and assist businesses in sharing information regarding suspected money laundering.
On Tuesday a bill will be introduced enabling government to establish a register of overseas entities, which will require anonymous foreign owners to identify themselves, reform unexplained wealth orders and include amendments to sanctions legislation designed to deter individuals from breaching them.
The legislation will “have an immediate dissuasive effect on dirty money and its purveyors from Russia and elsewhere,” Kwarteng told MPs.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe