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UK Announces New Beneficial Ownership Register

by Robert Lee,, London

16 May 2016

The UK Government has announced that foreign companies that own or wish to purchase property in the country will be required to publicly disclose who owns them.

Ahead of the official start of an Anti-Corruption Summit on May 12, the Government said that companies that own UK property will have to join a new public register of beneficial ownership. Any foreign company wishing to buy UK property or bid for central government contracts will also need to sign up to the register.

Currently, around 100,000 properties in England and Wales are owned by foreign companies.

According to the Government, the register will mean corrupt individuals and countries will no longer be able to move, launder, and hide illicit funds through the property market, and will not benefit from public funds.

The Government added that France, the Netherlands, Nigeria, and Afghanistan will likewise launch their own public registers of beneficial company ownership. Australia, New Zealand, Jordan, Indonesia, Ireland, and Georgia will agree to take the initial steps toward making similar arrangements.

The UK register will go live next month.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "The evil of corruption reaches into every corner of the world. It lies at the heart of the most urgent problems we face – from economic uncertainty, to endemic poverty, to the ever-present threat of radicalization and extremism."

"A global problem needs a truly global solution. It needs an unprecedented, courageous commitment from world leaders to stand united, to speak into the silence, and to demand change."

TAGS: individuals | tax | business | Ireland | Netherlands | Niger | Nigeria | Australia | United Kingdom | Afghanistan | France | Georgia | Indonesia | Jordan | New Zealand

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