Sunday, 21 July 2019

Focus on ‘anonymous’ owners

Focus on ‘anonymous’ owners

ANALYSIS by Global Witness, an anti-corruption and pro-transparency NGO, has shown that over 87,000 properties in England and Wales are owned by anonymous companies registered in tax havens, writes Alison Stodolnic.

Forty per cent of the properties identified are in London.

In Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge, where the average property costs around £3 million, there are at least 134 secretly owned properties. Buckingham Palace Road is also home to a large number, with a combined estimated value of £350 million.

The areas with the highest number of anonymously owned properties are: Westminster (10,000), Kensington and Chelsea (5,729), Camden (2,320) and Tower Hamlets (1,930).

The report claims that Land Registry data values these properties at at least £56 billion, but it could be in excess of £100 billion when accounting for inflation and missing data.

Ava Lee, senior anti-corruption campaigner at Global Witness, said: “It’s increasingly clear that UK property is one of the favourite tools of the criminal and corrupt for stashing and laundering stolen cash. This analysis reveals the alarming scale of the UK’s secret property scandal.”

The report was published as Global Witness was preparing to give evidence at a parliamentary committee review of a draft law that would introduce a register of the real owners of UK properties.


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