| Click for the Finfacts Ireland Portal Homepage |

Finfacts Business News Centre

 Irish Economy
 EU Economy
 US Economy
 UK Economy
 Global Economy
 Asia Economy

Finfacts changes from 2015


How to use our RSS feed

Follow Finfacts on Twitter

Web Finfacts

See Search Box lower down this column for searches of Finfacts news pages. Where there may be the odd special character missing from an older page, it's a problem that developed when Interactive Tools upgraded to a new content management system.


Finfacts is Ireland's leading business information site and you are in its business news section.


Finfacts Homepage

Irish Share Prices

Euribor Daily Rates

Global Cost of Living

Irish Tax - Income/Corporate




Content Management by interactivetools.com.

News : UK Economy Last Updated: Mar 4, 2015 - 6:58 AM

41,000 London properties held by foreign companies - 90% in tax havens
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Mar 4, 2015 - 6:49 AM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

BVI's Tourism Office slogan is 'Nature's Little Secrets'

UK official data show that almost 41,000 London properties owned by foreign companies 90% are based in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which do not have to disclose ownership information.

Transparency International, the anti-corruption organisation, used Land Registry and Metropolitan Police data to identify 40,725 properties registered to overseas companies in London and while that number accounts for only 1.3% of the total housing stock in the British capital, the high number owned by tax haven shell companies and their location in the city, suggests that a significant number of London's prime property purchases are likely made from the proceeds of corruption and other criminal activities.

"There is growing evidence that the UK property market has become a safe haven for corrupt capital stolen from around the world, facilitated by the laws which allow UK property to be owned by secret offshore companies," said Robert Barrington, executive director of Transparency International UK.

  • 36,342 London properties totalling 2.25 sq miles are held by offshore haven companies. Of these, 38% in the British Virgin Islands, 16% in Jersey, 9.5% in Isle of Man, and 9% in Guernsey;
  • Almost one in ten properties in the City of Westminster (9.3%), 7.3% of properties in Kensington & Chelsea, and 4.5% in the City of London are owned by companies registered in an offshore secrecy jurisdiction. TI-UK has launched an interactive map of London which reveals the statistics for each borough – ukunmaskthecorrupt.org;
  • In 2011 alone, £3.8bn worth of UK property was bought by British Virgin Islands-registered companies;
  • According to the latest figures, which cover October 2013 to September 2014, estate agents contributed to only 0.05% of all Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) submitted.

TI report

The Guardian reports that the Metropolitan police have revealed that more than £180m of British property has been put under criminal investigation in the last decade as the likely proceeds of corruption. Detectives have warned it is the tip of the iceberg.

In almost every case, suspected international money launderers hold the properties in secretive offshore companies. One investigator said the arrangements were “like putting money in a Swiss bank – they have become ubiquitous for the corrupt”.

Half of the 144 properties investigated by Scotland Yard were registered to companies in Jersey, which does not automatically declare the identity of the beneficial owner.

DCI Jon Benton of the Met's Proceeds of Corruption Unit, said: “In nearly all the grand corruption cases we investigate, we find . . . proceeds of corruption being used to purchase high-value properties.

“Properties that are purchased with illicit money, which is often stolen from some of the poorest people in the world, are nearly always layered through offshore structures.”

The key recommendation is that transparency should be established over who owns the companies that own so much property in the UK through making such transparency a Land Registry requirement.

The Financial Times reports that in 2013 the government announced legislation that will require British companies to make ownership information publicly accessible, though the rules will not apply to overseas companies.

Related Articles

© Copyright 2015 by Finfacts.ie

Top of Page

UK Economy
Latest Headlines
UK in 28th rank of 30 advanced OECD nations for health resourcing: Economist Intelligence Unit
Business on a Shoestring: Keeping startup costs low in UK and Ireland
UK "underlying growth has stopped"
41,000 London properties held by foreign companies - 90% in tax havens
UK GDP rose 2.6% in 2014 up from 1.7% in 2013
Northern Ireland private economy contracted in December 2014
Northern Ireland may have a 12.5% corporation tax rate from 2017
UK moves ahead on 'Google tax' despite criticism
PwC charged with "selling tax avoidance on an industrial scale"; indulging in "scams"
Income inequality damages economies; Rich-poor gap highest in 30 years
Cameron warns of risk of another global recession
Only 80,000 of 1.1m UK jobs added since 2008 were full-time employee positions
UK added 112,000 jobs in third quarter; Pay inches above inflation - first time in 5 years
Germany and UK agree to restrict 'patent box' tax incentives to local R&D
German retailer Aldi to create 35,000 new jobs in UK by 2022
UK GDP growth slowed in the three months to September
UK retail sales fell in September; Tesco, Debenhams, Foxtons report market stress
UK faces more austerity and less chance of tax cuts
Globalization, the underclass and the need for a new model - Part 2
Northern Ireland PMI shows sharp increase in activity
UK economic growth revised up - above pre-recession level
London world’s most expensive city for companies to locate employees
UK retail sales in August best performance since January
UK economy added more net jobs in past 4 years than rest of the EU combined
UK to announce stiffer penalties for offshore tax evaders
UK economy since launch of the euro in 1999
IMF says British pound overvalued
UK profit warnings reach highest first half total since 2011
UK GDP up 3.1% in 12 months to end Q2 2014; Economy overtakes pre-crisis 2008 peak
Wealthy foreign students overtake finance professionals as renters in prime Central London areas
UK attracts most inward investment projects since records began in 1980s
Trends in UK and US part-time and self employment since 2008
UK labour participation at 73% - highest in decade; US at 63% - lowest since 1978
More than 20,000 client names of Jersey tax haven bank leaked
UK house prices overtook their 2007 peak in Q2 2014
UK recovery continues at robust pace
UK employment rose again at a record pace in the three months to April
UK tax revenues rose to record in 2013/2014 with help from tax dodgers
Overseas visits to London in 2013, up 43.5% in 10 years
UK economy grew 0.8% in Q1 2014; Almost back to 2008 peak