UK to Make Register of Foreign Properties' Owners to Tackle Money Laundering

© AP Photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth, fileView from Nelson's Column shows the Gherkin building over central London's skyline
View from Nelson's Column shows the Gherkin building over central London's skyline - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The UK government will require foreign companies with property on its soil to list their beneficial owners or the people who ultimately control and profit from said properties, on a special public register in an attempt to prevent criminals from using UK properties to launder money, the government said in a statement on Monday.

"For the first time, foreign companies owning UK properties will be required to reveal their ultimate owners on the world’s first public register of overseas entities’ beneficial ownership. The register forms part of a wider crackdown on criminals laundering their dirty money in the UK and the new information it reveals will make it easier for law enforcement agencies to seize criminal funds," the statement said.

READ MORE: British Government About-Face on Offshore Tax Havens

According to the statement, individuals who will attempt to sell or rent properties without revealing the ultimate owner might face up to five years in jail and an unlimited fine.

"New data also released today shows nearly three-quarters of those surveyed in the UK property market agree that this new register will lead to an increase in transparency and will reduce the potential for illegal activity," the government added.

The register will be established within the framework of the UK Criminal Finances Act adopted in 2017 and is expected to become operational by 2021.

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