PARADISE LOST: ENDING THE UK’S ROLE AS A SAFE HAVEN FOR CORRUPT INDIVIDUALS, THEIR ALLIES AND ASSETS

Paradise Lost is a thor­ough analy­sis of the UK’s role in glob­al cor­rup­tion, out­lin­ing the mul­ti­tude of ways in which the UK is enabling cor­rupt indi­vid­u­als to enjoy lux­u­ry lifestyles and cleanse their rep­u­ta­tions. This includes:

  • The abil­i­ty to buy UK prop­er­ty anony­mous­ly through for­eign companies.
  • The UK’s Overseas Territories offer­ing secre­tive com­pa­ny ownership
  • Lack of pow­ers for law enforce­ment to seize stolen assets.
  • Role of UK based accoun­tants, lawyers, estate agents and oth­er “pro­fes­sion­al enablers” in mak­ing it easy for cor­rupt indi­vid­u­als to hide their cash.
  • An anti-mon­ey laun­der­ing sys­tem that is easy to bypass in order to laun­der mon­ey with impunity.

Key rec­om­men­da­tions include:

  • Ensure the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies intro­duce cen­tralised pub­lic reg­is­ters of ben­e­fi­cial own­er­ship, and ensure cor­rupt indi­vid­u­als can­not buy UK prop­er­ty with impunity.
  • Act on unex­plained wealth by increas­ing the capa­bil­i­ties of the UK’s asset recov­ery regime to seize cor­rupt funds.
  • Fix the flaws in the UK’s anti-mon­ey laun­der­ing regime – over­haul­ing the super­vi­sion of the rules, and pros­e­cut­ing com­plic­it pro­fes­sion­al enablers.

The Panama Papers and the UK’s complicity:

  • Of the 214,000 cor­po­rate enti­ties exposed, over half were reg­is­tered in the British Virgin Islands.
  • Our research showed 36,000 prop­er­ties in London are owned by com­pa­nies reg­is­tered in off­shore jurisdictions.
  • The UK was the sec­ond most pop­u­lar place for the Mossack Fonseca firm to oper­ate. According to the ICIJ, Mossack Fonseca worked with 1,924 UK pro­fes­sion­al enablers to set up com­pa­nies, foun­da­tions and trusts for customers.

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PARADISE LOST: ENDING THE UK’S ROLE AS A SAFE HAVEN FOR CORRUPT INDIVIDUALS, THEIR ALLIES AND ASSETS