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The global rich are buying up large parts of London. But who they really are and where their money comes from is too often a well-kept secret. They use secret offshore companies to buy the properties and don’t disclose their identities. So says the anti-corruption pressure group Transparency International UK, an arm of the Berlin-based campaigners.
Based on London land registries and Metropolitan Police Proceeds of Corruption Unit, TI-UK has brought out a free to download report, Corruption on your Doorstep. The average price of a property under criminal investigation in the UK is £1.5m. The minimum is £130,000, the maximum is £9m and the median is £910,000. Near half, 48pc of properties investigated were valued at over £1m. And TI-UK has launched an interactive map of London which shows the statistics for each borough – ukunmaskthecorrupt.org.
In 2011 alone, £3.8bn of UK property was bought by British Virgin Islands-registered companies. TI says that according to the latest figures, which cover October 2013 to September 2014, estate agents contributed to only 0.05pc of all Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) submitted. This figure does not match the risks posed by money launderers to the UK property market, the campaign group claims. TI-UK calls for transparency over who owns the companies that own so much property in the UK through making such transparency a Land Registry requirement.
You can read a blog by Nick Maxwell, TI-UK’s Research Manager: on the TI-UK website.