The international drive against corruption continues

The international drive to crack down on tax evasion has once more cranked into action with the Prime Minister David Cameron hosting a major international Anti-Corruption Summit to step up global action to expose, punish and drive out corruption. The Anti-Corruption Summit brings together a coalition of governments, businesses, civil society, law enforcement, sports committees and international organisations with the stated aim of stepping up global action to expose, punish and drive out corruption wherever it exists.

Here are the key points:

  • Any foreign company that wants to buy UK property or bid for central government contracts here will have to join a new public register of beneficial ownership information before they can do so. This will be the first register of its kind anywhere in the world;
  • The register will include companies who already own property in the UK, not just those wishing to buy. Foreign companies own around 100,000 properties in England and Wales. Over 44,000 of these are in London;
  • 40 jurisdictions, including a number of Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies with major financial centres will automatically share beneficial ownership information;
  • The UK will host the first ever International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre in London to strengthen cross-border investigations
  • France, the Netherlands, Nigeria and Afghanistan will follow the UK’s lead and commit to launch their own public registers of true company ownership;
  • Australia, New Zealand, Jordan, Indonesia, Ireland and Georgia will agree to take the initial steps towards making similar arrangements. 40 jurisdictions, including a number of Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies with major financial centres have signed up to a ground-breaking international deal to automatically share their beneficial ownership registers with other countries. For the first time, police and law enforcement will be able to see exactly who really owns and controls every company incorporated in these jurisdictions.

The target

The idea is that the new register for foreign companies will mean that corrupt individuals and countries will not be able to move, launder and hide illicit funds through London’s property market, and will not benefit from our public funds.

The Summit will also see Nigeria, Afghanistan, Italy, Jordan and Argentina commit to taking the initial step towards similar action.

Strong words from the PM

David Cameron said:

The evil of corruption reaches into every corner of the world. It lies at the heart of the most urgent problems we face – from economic uncertainty, to endemic poverty, to the ever-present threat of radicalisation and extremism.

A global problem needs a truly global solution. It needs an unprecedented, courageous commitment from world leaders to stand united, to speak into the silence, and to demand change.

That is why I am hosting this summit. Today is just the start of a more co-ordinated, ambitious global effort to defeat corruption.’

Levy and Levy comment

Global tax enforcement is here to stay and the drive towards rooting out tax fraud looks to be a major preoccupation of the international community for many years to come.  Taxpayers may wish to review their affairs accordingly.

 

Levy and Levy – the tax investigations and resolution specialists in London and Tunbridge Wells.