The United Kingdom (UK), has mandated foreigners or overseas entities that own land or property to declare beneficial owners and/or managing officers.
The law entitled ‘Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022’ established the new ‘Register of Overseas Entities’, held by the UK’s Companies House.
The law, which took effect on August 1, 2022, also made provisions for “severe sanctions” for those who do not comply, including restrictions on buying, selling, transferring, leasing or charging their land or property in the UK.
Under the new law, overseas entities who want to buy, sell or transfer property or land in the UK must register with the Companies House and declare who their registrable beneficial owners or managing officers are.
The law also required overseas entities who already own or lease land or property in the UK to register with Companies House and disclose registrable beneficial owners or managing officers by January 31, 2023.
“This applies to overseas entities who bought property or land on or after: 1 January 1999 in England and Wales, 8 December 2014 in Scotland,” the UK government said.
“Overseas entities only need to register property or land bought in Northern Ireland on or after 1 August 2022.”
It added that entities that disposed of property or land after February 28, 2022, would need to give details of those dispositions.
The development comes almost a year after the Pandora Papers exposed how world leaders , politicians and billionaires use shell companies to move wealth offshore, anonymously buy real estate or luxury goods, and avoid paying huge sums of tax revenue.
The Pandora Papers project is led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which Premium Times is a part of.
Findings by the project revealed that Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra; Gboyega Oyetola, Osun governor and Stella Oduah, a serving senator, are among those who have allegedly benefitted illegally from offshore service firms.