Changes to UK property rule announced in bid to eradicate corruption

As world-leaders gather in London for an anti-corruption summit, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that foreign firms owning property in the UK will have to declare their assets publicly.

In an effort to eradicate money-laundering, the government has said that companies wanting to own property in the UK or to compete for government contracts will now have to be listed on a new register.

The new register is to include companies that already own real-estate in the UK, as well as those seeking to buy, the government has said.

This would mean that "corrupt individuals and countries will no longer be able to move, launder and hide illicit funds through London's property market, and will not benefit from our public funds"

said Downing Street.

Currently, foreign companies own about 100,000 properties in England and Wales with more than 44,000 of these in London.

According to the BBC, the Prime Minister is also due to announce that some of Britain’s overseas territories and crown dependencies will join 33 other countries in agreeing to share automatically their own registers of company ownership, information that will be accessible to the police.

Speaking to the broadcaster, Matthew Hancock, Cabinet Office Minister said:

"It does not matter where in the world your company is registered if you own property in London or sell things to government, as part of government procurement, then you have to declare the beneficial ownership, in other words the ultimate ownership of the company."

This latest move comes as the Prime Minister pledges to be at the forefront of a wider effort to crack down global corruption.

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