50 properties in area owned by tax haven companies

More than 50 properties in Scarborough are owned by companies registered in offshore tax havens, which campaigners warn could be being exploited by criminals.

Friday, 29th March 2019, 2:02 pm
In Scarborough, 59 properties are owned by companies registered outside of the UK.

Analysis of the Land Registry for England and Wales has revealed more than 87,000 properties worth an estimated £100bn are owned by anonymous overseas companies.

Campaign group Global Witness, which carried out the research, says the figures demonstrate the “alarming scale of the UK’s secret property scandal”, which criminals could be using to launder money.

In Scarborough, there are 59 properties owned by companies registered outside of the UK.

Of these, 52 are owned by companies based in so-called secrecy jurisdictions, or tax havens – countries whose laws allow them to keep their financial activities private or to pay a low amount of tax.

Companies registered in Jersey own the largest share with 35 properties.

This is followed by Guernsey, on seven properties, and Germany, with six.

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

“There’s some good news. Parliament is reviewing a draft law that could force these secret owners out of the shadows.

“We’re calling on the Government to table this legislation as quickly as possible, so we can find out who really owns so much of the UK.”

Across Yorkshire and the Humber there are 5,652 properties owned by overseas companies.