Criminals who launder money though UK property could face 5 years in prison

The Government has announced that foreign companies that own UK properties will have to reveal their ultimate owners on the world’s first public register. Furthermore, criminals who illegally profit from owning British property could face up to five years in jail and an unlimited fine.

A press release on the Gov.uk website states that making the information public will make it easier for law enforcement agencies to tackle money laundering while reducing opportunities for criminals to hide.

Commenting on the new draft laws laid in Parliament today (Monday 23 July), Business Minister Richard Harrington said:

“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.

“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.

“While the vast majority of foreign companies which buy property in the UK do so legitimately, this world-leading register will help ensure the UK remains a great dependable place to work, invest and do business.”

The latest data reveals that almost 75% of the UK property industry agree that a register will lead to improvements in transparency and reduce the potential for illegal activity.

The register forms part of a wider crackdown on criminals laundering dirty money in the UK.

View Gov.uk’s press release for more information here.

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