UK set to introduce strict laws regarding offshore companies | Pakistan Today

UK set to introduce strict laws regarding offshore companies

After widespread accusations of becoming a hub money laundering, the UK government is ready to introduce legislation to force offshore companies holding UK properties to reveal the true or “beneficial” owners., a private media outlet reported on Monday.

In case of failure in doing so, one could face up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine, according to the Registration of Overseas Entities Bill released for public consultation, which will close on Sept 17.

The owners’ names will appear on a corporate registry, making it easier for law enforcement to seize assets linked to criminals or bought through “dirty money”.

The proposed bill is not country-specific and is likely to hit a large number of Russian oligarchs who have bought a large number of properties during the last few years but Pakistanis having UK properties through offshore companies will also be compelled to declare ownership.

The owners’ names will appear on a corporate registry, making it easier for law enforcement to seize assets linked to criminals or bought through “dirty money”.

The proposed bill is not country-specific and is likely to hit a large number of Russian oligarchs who have bought a large number of properties during the last few years but Pakistanis having UK properties through offshore companies will also be compelled to declare ownership.

The anonymous ownership of properties via offshore companies is perfectly legal, but it has also been a subject of concern for housing campaigners concerned about an influx of foreign money forcing up house prices.

The bill defines a beneficial owner as someone who holds more than 25 per cent of the shares of an entity; controls more than 25 per cent of the entity’s voting rights; can appoint or remove the entity’s directors; or exerts “significant influence or control” over the entity.

The draft legislation introduces a series of new penalties for those seeking to circumvent the register. There will be a ban on a foreign entity selling or leasing a property without declaring its beneficial owner and those failing to comply will face jail of up to five years and an unlimited fine.



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