The government has announced that changes will be made to property ownership in the UK requiring foreign firms to declare assets on a new public register with the aim of tackling money laundering. Foreign companies that own properties in the UK will be required to publicly register who controls them and will not be able to buy UK properties or bid for central government contracts without joining the register. The new register will apply to those firms which already own property in the UK as well as new purchasers. It is anticipated that some of the UK’s overseas territories and crown dependencies will join 33 other countries in agreeing to share automatically their own public registers of company ownership, although Cayman Finance has questioned whether a public register of the owners of businesses in offshore centres would be effective, suggesting that this would only be the case if it was global and all G20 and international financial centres took part.
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