April 13, 2024

Make property details public to crack down on dirty money

At an anticorruption summit eight years ago, David Cameron, the prime minister at the time, committed to introducing public registers showing who the real owners of UK properties were. People would no longer be able to hide ownership behind foreign companies. And Cameron said that we should all know “who really owns them, who really controls them”.

This mattered because our property market was, and still is, awash with dirty money. Researchers at Transparency International UK have identified properties worth at least £6.7 billion — from grand London townhouses to expansive country estates — that have been bought with suspicious funds. This includes £1.5 billion from Russians accused of corruption or links to the Kremlin.

Therefore, it was welcome when the government in 2022 introduced

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