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.