New Global Witness analysis reveals that over 87,000 properties in England and Wales are owned by anonymous companies registered in tax havens. The value of these properties is at least £56 billion ($74 billion) according to Land Registry data – and likely to be in excess of £100 billion ($132 billion) when accounting for inflation and missing price data.
“It’s increasingly clear that UK property is one of the favorite tools of the criminal and corrupt for stashing and laundering stolen cash. This analysis reveals the alarming scale of the UK’s secret property scandal” said Ava Lee, Senior Anti-Corruption Campaigner at Global Witness.
40% of the anonymously owned properties identified are in London. Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge, where the average property will set you back over £3 million, hosts at least 134 secretly owned properties. Buckingham Palace Road is also home to a large number, with an estimated value of £350 million.
Earlier this year, the UK began to form a special group to combat fraud, corruption and money laundering. It will primarily monitor financial flows from Russia and the former Soviet republics, Asia and Nigeria.