The UK has made it mandatory for foreigners and foreign entities that possess land or property to disclose the managing executives and/or beneficial owners.
The new "Register of Overseas Entities," kept by the UK's Companies House, was established by the law titled "Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022."
The law, which went into effect on August 1, 2022, also included provisions for "serious punishments" for those who don't comply, such as limitations on the ability to purchase, sell, transfer, lease, or charge their land or property in the UK.
According to the new regulations, foreign corporations that wish to acquire, dispose of, or transfer real estate or other property within the UK must register with Companies House and identify any registrable beneficial owners or managing executives.
Additionally, the law mandated that by January 31, 2023, foreign companies that already own or lease land or property in the UK register with Companies House and declare any registrable beneficial owners or managing executives.
“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.