British shell companies have been linked to 52 money laundering scandals involving £80 billion over the past 14 years, according to Transparency International.
Tax evasion and financial crime have been back in the headlines due to the Paradise Papers scandal prompted by leaked data from Appleby, an offshore law firm founded in Bermuda.
But the report from Transparency International’s UK arm says that Britain has been a key link in many of the largest corruption scandals of recent years. It believes criminals in Eastern Europe channel money through UK-registered entities because they appear more legitimate than companies registered in known tax havens.
According to Transparency International, half of the 766 companies alleged to have been involved in money laundering schemes in recent years were based at just eight addresses in the UK. While Britain is the only country to have a fully-functioning, publicly-available register of the beneficial owners of companies, the resources are not available to police it and verify information submitted to it.
Transparency International and its supporters would certainly like to see closer scrutiny of companies suspected of money laundering. But while companies are certainly created for the purposes of money laundering, those looking to launder money are just as likely to target legitimate firms.
Which is why everyone in business must know the signs of money laundering and how to act if they suspect it. If they do not know this, they should be seeking advice - no one can afford to turn a blind eye or be ignorant of the risks of money laundering.
Read our article: THE NEED TO PREVENT MONEY LAUNDERING – EVERYWHERE