Want to know which tax haven companies own property in your town?

“IN September 2015 Private Eye created an easily searchable online map (see below) of properties in England and Wales owned by offshore companies. It reveals for the first time the extent of the British property interests of companies based in tax havens from Panama to Luxembourg, and from Liechtenstein to the South Pacific island of Niue. Most are held in this way for tax avoidance and often to conceal dubious wealth.
Using Land Registry data released under Freedom of Information laws, and then linking around 100,000 land title register entries to specific addresses, the Eye has mapped all leasehold and freehold interests acquired by offshore companies between 2005 and 2014.

Using this data the Eye published a series of exposes of the companies, arms dealers, oligarchs, money launderers and others who use offshore companies. Now Private Eye, using the same data, is also publishing a database of all properties acquired by offshore companies from 1999 to 2014, showing the address, the offshore corporate owners (some have more than one) and, where available, the price paid.

To download the 1999-2014 database,follow instructions on the website

Download the FREE Tax Haven Special Report follow instructions on the website.

http://www.private-eye.co.uk/tax-havens

No anti-corruption move on property ownership since promised in 2016

“More than £100bn of property in England and Wales is secretly owned, new analysis suggests. More than 87,000 properties are owned by anonymous companies registered in tax havens, research by the transparency group Global Witness reveals.

The analysis reveals that 40% of the properties are in London. Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge, where the average property costs £3m, hosts at least 134 secretly owned properties. Buckingham Palace Road is also home to a large number, with a combined estimated value of £350m.

The revelation comes as parliament’s joint select committee on the draft registration of overseas entities bill meets on Monday to hear evidence on the impact of property ownership by anonymous companies.

The government committed to introduce a register of UK property owners at its anti-corruption summit in 2016, but since then progress has been slow.

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

“This analysis reveals the alarming scale of the UK’s secret property scandal.”

The combined value of the properties was at least £56bn, according to historical Land Registry data at the time of their acquisition. Once inflation is factored in this would exceed £100bn.

Some 10,000 of the properties are in Westminster, while almost 6,000 are in Kensington and Chelsea. Camden is home to more than 2,300 of the anonymously owned properties while almost 2,000 are in Tower Hamlets.

Global Witness says its investigations have shown how criminals and corrupt politicians use the UK property market to hide or clean dirty cash, and to secure safe havens for themselves and their families.

In 2015 it revealed how the mystery owner of a £147m London property empire owned via a network of offshore companies could be linked to a former Kazakh secret police chief accused of murder, torture and money-laundering.”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/17/100-billion-of-uk-propert-secretly-owned-anonymous-firms-tax-havens

Government pulls bill which would have uncovered money launderers

“Ministers have pulled a financial services bill from the House of Commons, fearing the government was almost certain to be defeated on an amendment requiring Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man to clamp down on money laundering.

The Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell and Labour’s Margaret Hodge want the crown dependencies to introduce public share ownership records by December 2020, which the three territories are resisting.

Mitchell said the government had pulled the bill “in face of certain defeat” because it was backed by a group of rebel Tories as well as Labour and the other opposition parties. But the former cabinet minister added that the amendment would be put to the vote whenever the bill was resubmitted.

Hodge said the government had taken an “outrageous step” to pull the bill because “they knew we commanded a majority. I hope the government will accept our proposals but if not we will continue to campaign for public registers.”

Anti-corruption campaigners believe public records of share ownership would restrict the use of anonymous offshore companies by terrorists, dictators, corrupt politicians and criminals. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/04/house-of-commons-financial-services-bill-debate-pulled-crown-dependencies

Hugo meets Exmouth’s Tristram – and praises the company he works for – incorporated in the Cayman Islands

Nice story about Swire meeting Tristram Harris from Exmouth:

“Tristram, from the Merchant Exmouth, was invited to the House of Commons to celebrate the 200th general manager appointment from Stonegate’s Pub Company’s pool of home-grown talent, having successfully completed the company’s award winning ‘Accelerator’ programme.”

http://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/bar-to-boardroom-for-tristram-1-5713102

At least it would be nice if Stonegate Pub Company wasn’t incorporated in the Cayman Islands. And its directors were not all non-Devon based and with fingers in many, many pies and pints.

Top lawyers argue tax avoidance laws cause privacy problem for their rich client!

“The law firm Mishcon de Reya has filed a legal complaint against new anti-tax evasion measures, arguing that they infringe privacy and data protection rights.

The Information Commissioner’s Office confirmed it had received a complaint against HMRC and the Common Reporting Standard, a system whereby different countries’ tax authorities automatically exchange information.

The complaint was filed on behalf of an unnamed EU citizen who did not wish to be identified, according to the Financial Times. The woman is domiciled in Italy, meaning she argues it is her home for tax purposes.

It is not known where she is currently resident, though she was reported to have been previously resident in the UK and to have had a UK bank account containing £4,000.

The complaint claims that sharing her information with overseas tax authorities would subject her to a risk of her data being hacked, and would infringe European data protection and human rights laws. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/aug/02/mishcon-de-reya-complains-about-anti-tax-evasion-measures