£150 Billion from Offshore to UK
Offshore: Good or Bad but maybe not so Ugly
£150 BILLION from "Offshore" to UK
In the wake of David Cameron’s promise to expose “anonymous shell companies” used to buy properties with “plundered or laundered cash” research from the Office of National Statistics has revealed the scale of offshore investment into the UK property market. Since 2000, offshore companies have accounted for UK purchases of a staggering total value of £150 billion (and the ONS says that that could be as little as 63% of the total amount). 73% of the recorded transactions related to residential property.
To put the sums in context £150 B is the approximate combined cost of the welfare state and defence in any given year.
The researchers considered 96,440 transactions by 35,992 companies.
Central London had for the greatest share with just one street, Lancaster Gate accounting for £563 million. Country wide Bristol, Cardiff, Maidenhead and Canterbury followed the metropolis.
Meanwhile Gibraltar continues to implement and refine controls on the possible abuse of the jurisdiction of the kind highlighted by the Prime Minister.
The Gibraltar Companies, Partnerships and Trusts (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2012 already includes requirements for the maintenance of records identifying settlors, trustees and beneficiaries of all trusts without exception and the abolition of share warrants to bearer. These provisions cover partnerships and companies as well as trusts.
The Gibraltar Government is currently consulting the local finance industry with a view to creating a register of beneficial ownerships in compliance with the proposals published by the European Commission for its 4th Money Laundering Directive. Issues of access to the eventual register are bound to predominate.
Daniel Benyunes, a barrister at Charles Gomez & Co who regularly advises on corporate structures says: “Official policy in Gibraltar has long been to ensure that the jurisdiction meets exacting self imposed requirements when it comes to controls on money laundering. The long term security of the financial services industry depends on its ability to filter off dodgy business. Corporate vehicles will continue to be used but properly advised buyers in cities such as London, which rely on foreign investment will want to base their portfolios in well regulated jurisdictions. I believe that Gibraltar is such a jurisdiction ”.