Press release / Dec. 3, 2019

NCA £190m settlement underlines need for transparency in UK property market

3rd December 2019, London – A £190m settlement between the National Crime Agency (NCA) and a Pakistani family, that includes a multimillion pound London property, underlines the need for a public register revealing the real owners of companies purchasing UK property.

Analysis by Global Witness has found that the freehold to the address in question, 1 Hyde Park Place, London, W2 2LH,  is owned via an anonymously owned company in the British Virgin Islands. This settlement follows an investigation by the NCA that included freezing orders on a number of UK bank accounts.

Almost four years since it was first committed to and despite cross-party support, the UK has yet to legislate for a public register that reveals the real owners of overseas companies buying UK property. This would remove the veil of anonymity that allows the corrupt to use the UK housing market to launder money and the world’s elites to hide assets for a range of reasons.

Ava Lee, Senior Campaigner at Global Witness, said: 

“1 Hyde Park Place is yet another example of a high end London property harbouring unexplained  cash. We know how to put an end to this – there’s a Bill to clean up the property market waiting and ready to go. All of the political parties should commit to fixing this problem once and for all, by introducing this Bill as soon as they come to power.”

***ENDS***

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Ava Lee

Ava Lee, Senior Campaigner, Anti-Corruption

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