David Cameron announced this week that foreigners must not be able to purchase UK homes with "plundered or laundered cash" as part of a worldwide attempt to defeat corruption.
The PM promised to end usage of "anonymous shell companies" currently being used to invest in the UK property market, and urged the rest of the world in an effort to tackle the "cancer of corruption."
According to recent figures, roughly £122bn of property within the UK is currently under the ownership of offshore companies. This equates to 100,000 properties in the UK in total – 36,000 of which are in London; the city being hit the hardest by the housing crisis.
The Government intend to publish Land Registry data later on this year, which will show which foreign companies own property across England and Wales within the report.
Partner and Head of Forensic Accounting at BDO UK, Kaley Crossthwaite said “The complex and opaque structures behind the ownership of £122bn of property in England and Wales are further examples of how the beneficial owners of assets are hidden from the public purse. Property is not the only sector used to hide ‘Dirty Money’ but it is perhaps one of the easiest as it is unregulated, unlike the financial services sector. Increased transparency around the purchase of high value goods, such as property, art, high performance cars may go some way to combat corruption and money laundering. We encourage clients, both corporate and individuals, to conduct as much due diligence as possible on transactions, investments, and recruitment to prevent fraud, and perhaps the government could adopt a similar approach to due diligence when it comes to identifying the true source of money flowing in to the UK property sector.”
David Cameron said "There is no place for dirty money in Britain. Indeed, there should no place for dirty money anywhere. London is not a place to stash your dodgy cash."
Watch the full speech given below: